Recipe: Simple asparagus soup

ALISON AND SIMON HOLST
Last updated 05:00 03/10/2012
Asparagus soup
Simon Holst
This simple soup has an amazing flavour.

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Asparagus is one of the greatest treats of spring. Every year, we await the asparagus season with impatience, not only because it means the weather is improving, but because it can form the basis for many simple meals.

In addition to just enjoying lightly cooked asparagus with a squeeze of lemon juice, and a little butter or olive oil (try tucking a few spears into split French bread for a delicious lunch), you can get a little more elaborate and try adding a hollandaise (or even cheese) sauce, or use it as the basis for quick and tasty stir-fries.

If these simple dishes don't grab you, how about trying an asparagus risotto, flan or souffle, or, as we have here, turn it into delicious soup.

This simple soup has an amazing asparagus flavour, and it is an excellent way to preserve a little asparagus magic for an out-of-season treat, because it freezes well.

SIMPLE ASPARAGUS SOUP

For 6-8 servings:
50g butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup flour
500g tender asparagus
2 cups water
1 cup cream (or 1/2 cup cream plus 1/2 cup milk)
1/2 - 3/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat, add the chopped garlic and cook for two minutes  without browning. Stir in the flour, then remove from the heat. Grate the raw asparagus, using the blade of a food processor or a hand grater. (Hold the asparagus at right-angles to the grater).

Bring the asparagus and the water to the boil in another pot, and boil for two minutes. When cooked, the asparagus should be bright green and barely tender. Drain the asparagus cooking liquid into the butter and flour mixture, and bring to the boil, stirring. Stir in the cream (or cream and milk). Bring to the boil, add the cooked asparagus, and return to the boil again.

If serving immediately, thin to desired consistency with milk, chicken stock, or water. If freezing, do not thin, but cool the thick soup as soon as possible so that the asparagus stays bright green. The fastest way is to stand the saucepan in a  container of cold or iced water.

Freeze in covered containers, with head space. Use within six months. Bring thawed soup to the boil, thin, then adjust seasoning.

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- The Dominion Post

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