It seems that I’m a bit of a foul-weather friend to the world of soups. Perusing my recipes page the other day, I realised that I haven’t made a soup, let alone posted one here, in months. The last one I made was this Celeriac and Apple number, way back when in February. It’s not too surprising since soups are generally thought of as hearty, tummy-warming fare for the cooler months.
Of course, that’s not always the case. Plenty of Spring and even Summer veg work fantastically well in soups, and the lighter feel of a liquid meal is often just what the doctor (and the swimsuit designer) ordered at this time of year. From Minestrone Primaveras to fresh and spicy Thai options, recipes for warmer weather soups are a lot more numerous than you might think. When warm turns to hot, gazpachho or other chilled soups are options, though I have yet to really get on board that train.
This warm weather soup comes from Jamie Oliver and makes use of that staple of springtime, English asparagus. It might seem strange to take something as delicious, fleeting and yes, expensive, as asparagus and purée it, but that’s a risk I’ll take. This bright, lemony soup has reminded me that there’s a whole world of fair weather soups out there, and I want to befriend them all.
Well, maybe not all. Still working on the gazpacho.
Springtime Asparagus Soup
adapted from Jamie Oliver
- 400g asparagus
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 leeks, chopped (white and light green parts only)
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- juice of half a lemon, to taste
- baguette, to serve
- parmesan cheese, to serve
- Rinse the asparagus well and snap off the woody ends. Chop off the tips, and cut the remaining stalks into 1″ chunks.
- Heat most of the olive oil (about 1 1/2 Tbs.) in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over very low heat. Add the onion and leeks, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until very soft but not coloured.
- Add the asparagus stalks (save the tips for now) and the stock and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. Then remove the soup from the heat and purée until smooth using an immersion blender. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste, then return the soup to a low heat.
- Add most of the asparagus tips to the pot of soup, reserving a few for garnishing each bowl. While the soup tips cook (it will take about 4 minutes) pan-fry the garnish tips over a very high heat in the remaining olive oil, until crisp and bright green. Drain on a paper towel until needed.
- Serve the soup in individual bowls topped with toasted baguette slices, the asparagus tips, shavings of parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.