“Summertime And The Livin Is Easy”

Lately I keep thinking about those famous lyrics “summertime and the livin is easy.”

There are just so many things that seem to be easier in the summer. It’s easier to get the ponytails out the door in the morning without boots, mitts and heavy coats. It’s easier to drag my butt to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday mornings because it’s not pitch dark out in the mornings—a bit of daylight just makes everything better, even going to the gym. And it’s so much easier to walk out my back door to the garden and pick some fresh herbs whenever I’m cooking, rather than make a last minute dash to the store because I forgot to buy herbs. (Which always seems to happen.) Best of all, you just pick what you need.

It made me very happy this weekend to be able to walk into my backyard and pick the herbs that I needed for this Asparagus Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese Balls. The fresh herbs, along with the goat cheese really make this soup. As the goat cheese melts into the velvety soup, you get a hit of the tang from the cheese and some zip from the herbs. It really is very tasty.

I have to credit my friend Carolyn for introducing me to this soup. She recently hosted a large group of us for an amazing dinner and she made it seem effortless—really! She served the Asparagus Soup With Goat Cheese Balls in small glasses as a starter and the crowd went wild for this soup. I thought it was one of the best soups I’d ever had—so I knew I had to make it. The main change that I made to Giada De Laurentii’s version of this soup was to use a mix of summer herbs (basil, parsley and chives) rather than just basil in both the soup and the goat cheese balls. I also swapped in an onion for the leeks and rolled the goat cheese balls in the herbs rather than mixed them in. This soup is relatively easy to make, and can be made ahead and reheated if you’re having company, which is a little trick I learned from Carolyn. (Thanks Carolyn!)

I hope you are finding the livin a little easier this summer too!

Asparagus Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese Balls

Adapted from Giada De Laurentii, Giada at Home

Goat cheese:

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, parsley and chives combined

Soup:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 pounds medium asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 bunches)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, parsley and chives combined
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Goat cheese balls: Roll a spoonful of goat cheese into a ball (approximately 3/4″ to 1 inch diameter) then roll into the herb mixture until coated. Arrange on a plate and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Soup: Heat the butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring constantly until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broth, asparagus, mixed herbs and pinch of crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes. Blend the soup until smooth using an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep the soup warm over low heat.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with goat cheese balls.

NOTE: I propped up the goat cheese balls in my picture with an inverted ramekin just so you could see them. They quite naturally sink into the soup once you add them.