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White asparagus soup (v)

white asparagus2


The Germans are crazy about their white asparagus. Despite my best efforts to think like a German, I still prefer the green stuff, but I will admit that white asparagus is superior in soups, such as this one.

 

Serves 6 as a starter


What to do with all those woody ends and peelings? Freeze them and add to a stockpot, of course. A few handfuls of asparagus trimmings simmered in your hot stock really add to the intense, yet delicate flavour of this sophisticated soup.

 

1 kg white asparagus

400g waxy potatoes, peeled and diced

1 litre vegetable or chicken stock

100ml white wine

2 sticks celery, chopped

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

50ml cream

25g of butter

a pinch of grated nutmeg

a few shavings of parmesan

a little chopped parsley


Start heating the stock gently. Wash and peel the asparagus and cut off the dry ends. Add the peelings and ends to the stock. Cut off the tips, slice very finely and reserve.

 

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat, and fry the onion, celery and garlic gently for 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Chop the asparagus stems finely and add to the pan, along with the nutmeg and potatoes and fry for about 10 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the alcohol has burnt off, then add the hot stock, holding back the asparagus trimmings. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through. Blend thoroughly and (optional) pass through a sieve if you want an even smoother texture. Taste and season.

 

Return the smooth soup to the heat and stir in the cream. Divide between 6 soup bowls, each with a few shavings of parmesan, a little parsley and the raw slices of asparagus dropped in for a bit of crunch. It’s very good served with parmesan and almond biscuits, instead of bread on the side.


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