1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup sliced shallots (about 6 large)
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 14-ounce cans vegetable broth
1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots; sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus and coriander; stir 1 minute. Add vegetable broth and simmer until asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Strain into same pan, pressing on solids to release liquid. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir crème fraîche, lemon juice, and lemon peel in small bowl.
Divide soup among bowls.
Top with dollop of lemon crème fraîche and serve.
Makes 6 first-course servings.Bon AppétitMarch 2006