- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
- 2 pounds medium asparagus, 1 1/2-inch tips reserved, spears coarsely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 24 Lemon Dumplings
- In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped asparagus, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and cream and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the asparagus is very tender, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add salt and the asparagus tips and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tips and reserve them; keep the water boiling.
- Puree the soup in batches in a food processor and strain it through a coarse sieve, pressing on the solids. Return the soup to the large saucepan, season with salt and pepper and add the asparagus tips. Keep hot.
- Add the Lemon Dumplings to the boiling water and cook until just tender, about 1 1/2 minutes; drain. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the saucepan over moderately high heat. Add the dumplings and carefully swirl them in the butter to coat. Add 4 dumplings to each soup plate, ladle the asparagus soup over them and serve.
The soup and cooked asparagus tips can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently.
A tart New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has the acidity and fresh herbal flavor to stand up to the asparagus and lemon in this soup. Look for one from the Marlborough region.