Tuesday, March 12, 2013
CREAMY, LOW-FAT ROASTED ASPARAGUS-FENNEL SOUP
I'm hoping the New Bern Farmer's Market will have asparagus and fennel sometime soon. Fresh, local produce is always the best, IMHO. But, even with grocery-store veggies, this soup has quickly become my fave. Roasting the veggies intensifies flavors. Using cashews instead of heavy cream or butter produces a smooth, almost silky, soup with a rich and creamy taste. The fat in cashews is "good fat," unlike heavy cream or butter which is "bad fat." You might consider serving this soup for Easter dinner. Me? I'm having it whenever I can get asparagus and fennel.
Easy Roasted Asparagus-Fennel Soup
Source: The Bear Cupboard
Rating: 10 out of 10
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1 lb. fresh asparagus, rinsed, ends trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, rinsed, trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/3 cup whole, raw, unsalted cashews
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. Morton kosher salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
2-3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
Shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish
Additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed
Heat oven to 400F. In 9 x 13 pan, combine asparagus, fennel, garlic, cashews, oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. white pepper. Roast 20-30 minutes, till veggies are soft and aromatic. Remove from oven and puree in batches in a food processor or blender till very smooth, or place veggies in a 2-3 quart pot and puree with an immersion blender. Slowly add broth while whisking or stirring; heat to almost boiling on medium heat; cover pot, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes (or longer) to blend flavors. Add additional broth if thinner consistency is desired. Taste to adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if desired, but remember that the Parmesan will add more salt. Serve hot in bowls and garnish with shaved or grated high-quality Parmesan cheese. Yield: 4 servings
If you have saved Parmesan rinds, throw them in the pot when you add the broth, and discard them before serving.
Shave Parmesan easily by using a vegetable peeler.
Cooking for one or two? No problem, this soup freezes beautifully, sans garnish, of course.
No fennel? No problem. Substitute onion.