Summer Soup


Soup in summer? What is this madness?! How could one possible use a stove in this blazing 60-degree heat? Ah yes, Berkeley in the summer: a landscape of wafting fog and lukewarm afternoon sun. When we saw the most recent Food 52 contest (Your Best Summer Soup) we were not attracted by chilled soups and recipes for gazpacho. Inspired by the extremely fall-like weather we’re experiencing rather than withering heat, we decided to stir up a something light and flavorful that could simmer away on the stove while we whipped up a bright, herbal pistou.

My favorite part of this soup, in all honesty, is that it requires the use of an immersion blender. You could pour the hot soup into a countertop model  as well, but the immersion blender is a kitchen tool of rare beauty and usefulness. With even the barest of ingredients – stewed vegetables, a dash of milk, a few turns of the pepper grinder – it allows you to produce velvety, full-flavored soups. With the press of a button, the blade attachment pops off for quick cleanup and you sigh in blessed happiness as you simply toss it into the sink and move on to stirring thick spoonfuls of goat cheese into the steaming pot on your stove.

The vibrant green of this asparagus soup is enough to cheer you up on even the windiest, cloudiest day, but the lovely color and fresh flavors would suit a warm summer day as well. The tang of goat cheese complements the earthy taste of the asparagus, and the even creaminess you achieved with your precious immersion blender is heavenly. With a dollop of garlicky pistou, this recipe makes for a satisfying but pleasantly light meal and provides an excellent next-day lunch option. Enjoy!

Lemon Asparagus Goat Cheese Soup with Pistou
Serves 5-6

For the Soup

  • 2 Bunches Fresh Asparagus, chopped
  • 1 Leek, chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 5-6 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Milk (we used 2% but you could go for heavy cream if you’re feeling decadent!)
  • 3 oz. Goat Cheese
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

In a heavy cast iron pot over medium/high heat melt the butter and cook garlic and leek until the leeks begin to wilt. Once they have wilted and become slightly transparent add the asparagus and cook for a few minutes, stirring. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook until asparagus is fork tender, about 10 minutes. Once asparagus is tender, puree your soup with an immersion blender or an upright blender in batches. Once pureed, add the goat cheese, lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste and stir until all ingredients have melded into the soup. Serve hot with a spoon-full of fresh pistou and bread. Enjoy!

For the Pistou

  • 1 Clove Garlic, peeled
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Tomato, peeled, seeded & diced
  • 1 1/2 oz Parmesan Cheese, grated

Pistou is traditionally made with mortar and pestle but since we don’t currently have one in the FWE kitchen, we decided to use our small food processor for the job. Combine the basil and garlic in the food processor and pulse while adding the olive oil slowly. Once these are well broken down, add the remaining ingredients and pulse until you have what resembles a fine pesto. Serve your soup with a dollop of pistou!

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