This soup, so they say, is reminiscent of the creations of the 18th century French grande cuisine. Asparagus was introduced by the Italians during the Renaissance, and was part of a change in eating habits that saw vegetables introduced into grande cuisine. Previously they had been considered the food of peasants.
This soup is thick, smooth and delicate as well as utterly delicious. It is simple to make with easily accessible ingredients. It is the perfect soup for year-round enjoyment, as it can be served cold in Summer and hot in Winter. We’ve been making this soup since the early 2000’s.
The soup can also be made quickly and easily in any high speed blender that also heats foods as it blends. I have given the instructions for making it this way as well as the usual, stove-top method. In the blender it takes around 15 mins, including cooking the asparagus. When you are using the high speed blender (mine is a Vitamix), then there are no worries about stringy stalks on the asparagus – all is blended into a smooth, perfect soup.
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Velouté d’asperges | Cream of Asparagus Soup
750g small green asparagus spears
9 chervil sprigs (or use tarragon or coriander leaves)
1.5 Tblspn extra virgin olive oil
1 Tblspn arrowroot
1 cup milk
6 pinches grated nutmeg
3 Tblspn crème fraîche
sea salt and white pepper
Remove the tips from the asparagus and reserve. Slice the rest of the stalks into small pieces.
Heat the oil in a pan and cook the asparagus over gentle heat until just browning, stirring constantly. Add the herbs and 4 cups water, bring to the boil and simmer for around 10-12 mins.
Puree the asparagus mixture in a blender and strain to remove any solids. Pour the soup back into the cleaned pan and add the arrowroot mixed with the milk, seasoning to taste and the nutmeg. Bring to a simmer over a low heat, stirring as the soup thickens. Add the asparagus tips while it is simmering and cook, still stirring, for about 2 – 3 minutes or until the soup is sufficiently thickened.
Remove from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche. Serve at once, or allow to cool and serve cold.
Making the soup in the vitamix
optionally include a handful of cashews (helps thicken the soup, instead of using arrowroot)
reduce the milk to 0.5 cup if using cashews
Remove the tips from the asparagus and reserve. Slice the rest of the stalks into small pieces. Cook the prepared asparagus stalks by steaming for 10 minutes or by sautéing in olive oil over gentle heat until they begin to colour.
Blanch the asparagus tips in boiling water for 2 – 3 mins, drain and reserve.
You will probably need to make the soup in 2 batches, depending on your Vitamix, so divide the ingredients in half if necessary. For each batch, add the asparagus stalks, herbs and water with a little seasoning to the blender and select the Soup function. Allow it to process the asparagus – it takes around 5 minutes. By this time, the soup will be nice and hot.
Open the insert in the lid and add the milk, cashews, crème fraîche and nutmeg, replace the insert, and blend again on speed 5 for about a minute. If it is not hot enough, raise the speed to 10 and blend for another 30 seconds or so.
Serve with the reserved asparagus tips. Divine!
recipe notes and alternatives
Make the same soup with zucchini, using thyme leaves and garlic instead of chervil. You can keep the nutmeg or leave it out.