Minestra estiva di asparagi ~ Summertime Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup

“If you want things to stay as they are, things will have to change”
Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Not exactly your average comfort food, but I can see this added to as an easy spring soup for a rainy day.  Adapted from one of my oldest cookbooks this simple soup was fantastic with a prosciutto and cheese panini for dinner and stays on the keeper list in my files.  I like to pan fry croutons so they brown and crisp on the outside, but are still a little tender on the inside.  Fresh picked asparagus would be nice, but not necessary and I prefer the thin asparagus again use the thicker asparagus but trim the stalk with a  vegetable peeler.

While the original recipe calls for bouillon cubes a packaged chicken stock works well, I used Knorr concentrated stock.

About a pound of asparagus will make a great pot of soup for 4, but the recipe is easily halved for 2.

Asparagus Soup

1 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed
½ cup butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 container Knorr concentrated chicken stock or 3 chicken bouillon cubes
Salt and White Pepper
½ cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 Fresh parsley sprigs
6 Tablespoons cubed cooked ham, (deli ham is fine)
Croutons made from 1” thick slices and cubed baguette or ciabatta

Gently toss the bread cubes with EVOO and lightly toast in a sauté pan, remove from pan and set aside.

Cook the asparagus spears in salted water, about 2 quarts (about 2-3 minutes and shock in ice water if making ahead), reserve 6 cups of the asparagus water, and cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces.  Melt half the butter in a saucepan medium soup pot, whisk in the flour, gradually add the asparagus water and add the little 4.66 ounce container of stock or the bouillon cubes and salt and pepper to taste.  After about a 5 minute simmer, whisk the egg yolk, ¼ cups cheese and cream together adding 3 tablespoons minced parsley, slowly whisk into the hot soup.  Toss in the ham and asparagus pieces.  Serve with croutons and additional grated cheese.