Fennel and Asparagus Soup with Mint

I love making puréed soups.  There really isn't anything quicker and easier for a weeknight meal.  You don't have to spend time chopping your onions perfectly, getting the vegetables to the same state of tenderness, or overcooking the main ingredient.  Just chop, sauté, add your liquid, and blend.  Puréed soups can be made in any season, hot or cold, spicy or sweet, thin or thick, topped with crunchy bits or sopped up with a slice of your favorite crusty bread. If there is one rule I stick to when making puréed soups it is this: don't add too much liquid in the beginning.  Once you add all of your ingredients to the pot, add just enough of your liquid to cover by about an inch.  Too much liquid will ruin the final product, and you can always add more as you are blending to get the exact consistency you want.

This soup pays homage to the strange season between winter and spring.  There are still hard squashes and root veggies lingering but asparagus appears at the markets out of nowhere and doesn’t last very long.  I try to use it as much as possible during its short run.  The fresh mint here adds a bright herbal note but is not overwhelming.

 

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Fennel and Asparagus Soup with Mint

Makes 6 cups

Ingredients

1 Tbs olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 large bulb fennel, core removed and chopped

1 Tbs salt

3 cups water

1 bunch asparagus

1 Tbs fresh mint

1 Tbs lemon juice

  1. In a soup pot over medium heat, add the oil, onion, fennel and salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.  If the ingredients start to brown, turn down the heat and add a bit of water.
  2. Add the 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer.  Cook 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
  3. Remove the bottom 1 inch of the asparagus and chop the remainder of the spears into large pieces.  Add to the pot along with the mint and stir for a minute.  The residual heat will cook the asparagus.
  4. With an immersion blender or regular blender, purée the soup until completely smooth.  Add the lemon juice and more salt if desired.  Top with toasted pumpkin seeds.

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