Trim woody ends from 2 pounds of asparagus and reserve tips of 8 spears. Cut remaining asparagus spears into ½-inch pieces. In a large saucepan, warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil over low heat. Add 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped stalks of celery, and 1 chopped carrot and cook for 3 minutes. Add 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth. Simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Blanch reserved tips in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain.
Puree soup in batches in blender. Return to a saucepan over medium heat and add ½ cup evaporated 2% milk and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Warm through (do not simmer). Top with reserved asparagus tips and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.
Other asparagus options:
Trim woody ends from 1 ½ pounds of asparagus. Cut spears into 1-inch bits. In a large skillet, sauté asparagus in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until tender. Stir in 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and cook 1 minute. Serves 4.
Trim woody ends from 1 ¼ pounds of asparagus; arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning and ½ teaspoon salt. Roast in a 400ºF oven until tender (about 15 minutes). Serves 4.
Trim woody ends from 1 ½ pounds asparagus. Peel each spear. Blanch in boiling water 3 minutes, drain and run under cold water and blot dry. Top with 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 5.
Parade Magazine. (March 31, 2013), page 12.