Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten
australiaphen375.com

Cream Of Asparagus Soup With Basil Cream

Serves 4

Our asparagus bed gives me the greatest pleasure. Going out on a late spring morning and cutting down a few spears for lunch is one of the wonders for any gardener. We grow basil in the greenhouse all year round and just the smell of it makes me feel good. This recipe combines both of those traditional flavours.

25 asparagus spears
1 litre/ 1 and three-quarters pints vegetable stock, preferably home made
1 large onion, finely chopped
60g/2 oz unsalted butter
150ml/5 fl oz double cream
1 large handful basil leaves
Small pinch of coarse sea salt

Cut off tips and woody ends from the asparagus, keeping the middle part to one side.

Put the woody ends into a small saucepan of vegetable stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Then use a slotted spoon to remove and dispose of the stalks, replacing them with the tips. Leave uncovered and simmer gently till asparagus is tender but still crunchy.

Again, with a slotted spoon remove the tips – saving the cooking liquid - plunge into a bowl of iced water for 2 minutes then drain.

In a large saucepan gently sweat the onion in the butter until just translucent and starting to colour. Season with white pepper.

Add the rest of the uncooked stalks cut into one inch pieces. Add vegetable stock and the stock you've cooked the stalks and tips in, cover and simmer for 20 minutes till asparagus is very tender.

Allow to cool a little then puree with a hand blender or in a liquidiser in batches until completely smooth.

Strain through a fine sieve to remove all the stringy bits and return to the saucepan.

Pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the basil and salt, stirring till wilted – about 15 seconds.

Pour the whole mixture into the blender or food processor and whiz till smooth and replace in saucepan to keep warm.

Serve the soup in bowls adding a few asparagus tips to each and pour in the basil cream.

 

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