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white asparagus soup with crispy prosciutto

white asparagus soup | photo by: James Padilla

Unlike its green counterpart, the outer skin of white asparagus is very bitter and should be peeled before using. I prefer to use a vegetable peeler to do this, just go slowly because the stalks are also pretty fragile and will break quite easily. A little cream in this soup is worth it to make it nice and silky but you can easily leave it out if you prefer.

1 bunch white asparagus, rinsed, trimmed and peeled
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
1 small sprig fresh thyme
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1-1 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 slice prosciutto, thinly sliced and cut in half
Toasted ciabatta bread for serving, optional

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Chop asparagus into 2-inch pieces.
3. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus and thyme and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add stock and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprig and discard.
4. Purée soup in food processor or blender until smooth. Pour soup back into saucepan to reheat. Add cream and stir to combine. Add more stock, if needed, to reach consistency you prefer.
5. Meanwhile, place prosciutto on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes until crispy. Ladle soup into bowl and top with crispy prosciutto and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm with ciabatta (if using).

Serves 1-2.

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