You may serve this fresh spring soup either hot or cold, which makes it a great option for entertaining.
1-1/2 pounds green asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
Juice of 1 small lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup creme fraiche (or sour cream)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and boil until it is fork-tender and bright green (3-6 minutes, depending on the thickness). Drain asparagus and submerge in ice water to stop cooking.
At this point, you may either bring the stock to a boil or keep it cool, depending on whether you want to serve the soup hot or cold. Add asparagus to stock, along with tarragon and lemon juice. Puree in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, add lemon zest to creme fraiche. Serve soup, hot or cold, in small bowls, topped with creme fraiche.