It’s asparagus season - at last. Local asparagus is in the shops and the 3 crowns we planted 2 years are racing each other towards the light, so quick you can almost see them growing. Asparagus is delicious, raw, steamed or griddled, hot or cold. In fact asparagus is delicious any way.
Making a soup of it may seem a bit of a waste, but it isn't because it's divine. If you use some of the tips for a lovely garnish for the soup and perhaps keep some for one of the other asparagus recipes that will be posted (or were posted last year, see below*), it's all good and it means you can keep on eating it.
Handy hint: if you need to store the asparagus, treat it like a bunch of flowers. Put in a jug of cold water in the fridge.
Ingredients - serves 10 - 12 using shot glasses or a starter for 3 or 4
2 bunches asparagus
1 medium onion
400 ml chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
Small handful spinach leaves
30 ml single cream
1 tbs mild olive oil or butter
Seasoning to taste
Chop the onion and cook it in the olive oil or butter until it starts to soften.
Wash the asparagus, discard the woody bottom part. Cut off the top 5 cms of each spear and put aside. Cut the remainder of each spear into 2 or 3 pieces and add to the onion.
Cook the asparagus and onion together for a few minutes until both are softening. Add the stock and bring to a gentle boil.
Drop in the handful of spinach leaves and simmer for 5 minutes or so, until everything is tender.
Liquidise, pressing the soup through a fine sieve to make it really smooth. Chill.
When ready to serve, choose enough of the set aside asparagus tops to have one for each shot glass. Briefly steam them (about 1 minute is normally long enough, so they still have some bite). Plunge into iced water and when they are totally chilled, dry on paper towel.
Stir the cream into the chilled soup, check seasoning and pour into the glasses. Keep chilled until they are needed. To finish, split the asparagus spear, place one on the rim of each glass and serve.
* Here are the links to previous Asparagus recipes:
Asparagus on Roasted New Potatoes
Asparagus with Crispy Parma Ham