Chilled soups make for refreshing summer fare. In France, everyone looks forward to Spring asparagus, a special seasonal treat well worth the wait. You don't need to wait for asparagus season to make this soup! Using canned asparagus not only yields just as tasty a soup, it also cuts down on prep time. This soup makes a great light lunch dinner paired with some crusty French bread. It also can be an appetizer (serve in shooter glasses) or a first course. It freezes well and will keep for up to six months.
Swirl olive oil in a large saucepan. Add celery, onion and garlic. Set heat to medium-low and cook for 8-10 minutes until vegetables begin to soften, stirring frequently. Adjust heat as necessary to prevent browning. Once vegetables are soft, add drained asparagus and stir.
Add chicken stock, potatoes and salt. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender or food processor, purée the soup. Taste again for seasoning. Strain through a a mesh sieve if desired or leave as is for a more rustic soup (I prefer it unstrained).
Chill for a minimum of three hours. Divide between six bowls. Swirl a teaspoon of olive oil onto each. Top with crumbled goat cheese if desired.