Asparagus Soup

  • 1 1/2 bundles fresh asparagus
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 60g butter
  • 250g skinned & sliced onions
  • 1.5 litres chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 150g single cream
  • Small brown uncut loaf, fresh
  • Butter for spreading
  • Lemon slices, to garnish

Cut off the tips and cook very gently until just tender. Drain and cool; cover and refrigerate. Thinly slice the remaining stalks, discard any woody stems. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the sliced stalks and the onions, cover and cook over a moderate heat for 6-7 minutes or until the vegetables are beginning to soften.

Add the stock and parsley, season and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree in a processor or blender until quite smooth. Cool, then stir in the cream and season to taste.

Cut six thin slices of brown bread and butter them. Cut off the crusts and halve lengthwise. Roll the reserved tips inside each piece of bread; place on a serving dish, cover with cling film and refrigerate until required.

This soup can be served well chilled or hot, garnished with lemon and accompanied by the asparagus rolls.

  • Cooking tips

    Which size spears should I choose?
    Umm, a frequently asked question... It depends!
    Are you going to indulge just you and a "friend"? Definitely Large.
    Entertaining? Need a vegetable to accompany the main course? Then choose Medium, one bundle will be generous for 3 people.
    For quiches, salads etc, choose Small.

    Preparation
    We have already washed and trimmed, unlike other suppliers, all our asparagus is ready to use.

    Time of cooking
    As a general rule, asparagus is cooked when the tips are tender, but not soft to the point of a knife. Caution! Withycombe asparagus is very fresh so it will need less cooking.

    Steaming
    Lay the lightly salted asparagus flat in the top of a steamer over boiling water. Cover and steam for approx 6 to 8 minutes.

    Boiling
    Tie the asparagus in bundles, or leave the band on, and stand in 2 inches of lightly salted boiling water. Cover the tips with foil to catch the steam. This ensures that the stalks cook in water, but the delicate tips cook in steam. About 6 to 8 minutes.

    Microwave
    Arrange the spears lengthwise (tops in centre) in a baking dish and add 2 serving spoons of water. Cover, and microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. Rotate the dish a half turn, then microwave for another 2 minutes. Allow to stand before serving.

    Grilled
    Lightly brush spears with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill with medium heat (turn once) for about 3 minutes to desired tenderness. Serve as an appetiser with cured meats.

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