Serves 6 – Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
- 2 pounds asparagus
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 small leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced thin (white and light green parts only)
- 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Cut about 1-inch off the tough stem ends of the asparagus and discard. Cut the tips off and set aside. Cut the rest of the spears into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside. If the spears are more than 1/2-inch thick, then peel them with a vegetable peeler.
You now need to puree the soup. You can puree it in a blender in 2 batches, or you can use an immersion blender. Be careful with the immersion blender as the soup is hot and it might splatter. You need to keep the head of the immersion blender immersed in the soup or it will make a mess. I used an immersion blender. If you use a regular blender, you need to return the soup back to the pot. Now add the cream and lemon juice. Taste for the seasonings and adjust with salt and pepper. You can also now add the asparagus tips to the soup, or you can leave it out and add it to the soup bowls, in the middle, like croutons.
Bruschetta with Beans, Avocados, Tomatoes and Lemon Dressing
- 1 15.5-ounce can small navy beans
- 1/2 dry pint of cherry or grape tomatoes (about a handful), or 1 small tomato cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 ripe avocado, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup finely minced parsley
- 4 scallions, finely sliced
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 loaf Ciabatta bread, sliced into 1/4 or 1/2 inch thick slices
Drain and rinse the navy beans. Drain them well again as you don’t want extra liquid in the salad. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir. Toast the bread and spoon the salad on top of the bread. You can also eat the salad as it is.