I know I'm always going on about how versatile asparagus is, but sometimes you want to serve it in a very simple way, just steamed with a bit of butter and lemon juice. That was the way I was feeling when I decided to make some soup out of the ends of the asparagus that I had cut off when I was pickling them. If I'm starting out with the soup, then I cut the tips off and reserve them for another use, as they really are wasted in a soup pot. I considered making a tart, or a stir fry, or eating it raw, but soup with a really intense asparagus flavour was what appealed the most.
I did add some cream to this soup, but if you want a vegan version, you can leave the cream out and still have a delicious soup. You could also use a lower fat version as well. I ate this soup hot the first day with some broiled foccacia and cheese as a garnish, and then I ate the leftovers cold, like a vicchysoise. Both were wonderful, but given the heat lately, the cold version was quite welcome. If I had serving this as part of an elegant dinner, I would have strained it, but it was just for me, so some lumps of asparagus didn't matter.
Cream of Asparagus Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb asparagus, tips removed and set aside for another use
4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried
4 cups vegetable stock, more if necessary
1/2 cup 18% cream, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large pot, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add onion and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile cut the asparagus into shorter pieces, approximately 1 inch long. Add the asparagus and the thyme to the pot and stir to coat with the oil. Add the stock and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook at barely a simmer, until the asparagus is very soft, about 10 minutes.
3. With an immersion blender, blend until the soup is smooth. If you are using a regular blender, allow the soup to cool before blending, and then return to the pot. Add the cream and heat through on a low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, add a bit more cream or stock to thin it.