Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Cream of Asparagus Soup

With the impressive bounty of fresh asparagus in the markets these days, it seems like the perfect time to make a rich and delicious, silky smooth Cream of Asparagus Soup. Fabulous served either warm or chilled, this gorgeous recipe is bright and full flavoured with a base of sautéed leeks, butter and asparagus simmered in chicken stock until the vegetables are soft and cooked through. Puréed with some light cream and finished with a tumble of sautéed croutons, fresh dill and a swirl of cream and olive oil, this rich and velvety Asparagus Soup tastes as good as it looks.

Summer Cream of Asparagus Soup
Serves 8

4 bundles green asparagus, trimmed
2 leeks, washed and trimmed
8 tbsp butter
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp light cream, plus more for garnish
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for garnish

2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1/2 tsp herbes de Provence
4 slices of bread, cut into bite-size pieces for croutons

Cut the asparagus into 1-inch lengths. Halve the leek lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the leek and asparagus. Sauté for 3 minutes, until the vegetables are starting to soften. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the asparagus is soft and cooked through.

Blend the soup in a food processor or with a hand blender, until smooth. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper and return to the pan. Add the double cream and warm through. Meanwhile, sauté the pieces of bread in the olive oil for about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and herbes de Provence.

Serve the soup in warmed soup bowls if eating warm, or leave to cool if serving chilled. Garnish the soup with a tumble of croutons, chopped dill and a drizzle of cream. Finish with a swirl of olive oil and serve.