Thursday, 30 May 2013

Asparagus Soup

I don't think anyone would disagree with the fact that it has not been a classic season for English asparagus (pesky rainy weather). Nevertheless, it is still an annual treat to ram as much of these delicious green spears down as possible. Earlier this week I picked up a particularly thick bunch (in contrast to the more desirable wispy stalks) and was trying to work out what to do with them.

Perusing BBC Food for inspiration (doesn't everyone?), I came across this James Martin recipe for an asparagus soup. Given the delightful spring day (note heavy sarcasm) and the state of the asparagus, a soup did appeal.

The soup was rich and smooth, but surprisingly light. The crispy potatoes and asparagus tips meant that every mouthful had lots of different textures. The watercress was slightly odd (but I didn't de-stalk) and I would leave those out in the future.

Definitely a good way to use up either old or less aesthetically pleasing asparagus.

Asparagus Soup (based on this James Martin recipe)

2oz butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
300g asparagus, stalks roughly chopped, tips set aside for the stir fry
10fl oz chicken stock
2tbsp sour cream
For the garnish:
4oz Jersey Royal potatoes, cooked and cut into cubes
Asparagus tips
1. Sweat the onion and thyme in butter for two minutes.
2. Add the asparagus stalks and cook for one minute.
3. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 7-8 minutes, until the asparagus is just tender.
4. Remove from the heat and blend until smooth.
5. Return the soup to the pan over a medium heat and add the cream. Stir well and season, to taste.
6. For the garnish, fry the potatoes in olive oil until beginning to colour.
7. Add the asparagus tips and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the asparagus is cooked through.
8. To serve, divide the potato and asparagus stir fry equally among the centre of shallow soup bowls and ladle the soup around each.

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