Chef John's Cream of Asparagus Soup


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1onion, finely diced
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste(Optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream(Optional)
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream(Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest(Optional)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper(Optional)
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add minced onion and salt; cook and stir until onion is soft and golden, about 10 minutes.


  • Step 2

    Pour chicken broth and water into pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Place asparagus pieces in simmering broth. Cook, stirring occasionally until asparagus is just tender and still bright green, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Step 4

    Use an immersion blender to blend soup until smooth, about 3 minutes.

  • Step 5

    For a finer texture, strain soup through mesh strainer. Return strained soup to pot and place on stove.

  • Step 6

    Turn heat to low. Season with cayenne pepper, black pepper, and nutmeg. Adjust salt to taste. Whisk 1/2 cup cream into soup.

  • Step 7

    Place 1/4 cup cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Whisk until frothy and slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

  • Step 8

    Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle a spoonful of Parmigiano-Reggiano-lemon cream on top of each serving and swirl to form a random design.

  • Step 9

    Sprinkle with a pinch of lemon zest and cayenne pepper, if desired.

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