Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Asparagus Soup

In case you couldn't tell, I'm still on the asparagus section of Jamie at Home and although I was trying to imitate a photo in the book, I didn't come close. That's because, excluding the bread and egg, my version of creamy asparagus soup with a poached egg on toast was pushed through a food mill, my one and only tool for pureeing. Asparagus being the woody, stringy vegetable that it is, it just doesn't puree in the same way that, say, potatoes do - nice and creamy. Jamie even says to use a hand-held blender or liquidizer (whatever that is). The bright green stalk in the middle of my bowl of soup is one of the tips, added at the end of cooking to give it a little something extra. I think it also makes the dull green more palatable.

Apart from the texture--I went ahead and threw the stringy stuff at the bottom of the food mill into the broth--the soup was fantastic. I would have much preferred it pureed to the silky smooth consistency that Jamie talks about, but I still reaped the benefits of this nutritious dish. If you are looking for a light and tasty soup made all the more interesting with the addition of a poached egg on toast, give this one a go. Don't judge it by my photo because your blenderized version will be creamy and much prettier!

Asparagus Soup (adapted from Jamie at Home)

400g asparagus, woody ends removed
olive oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
1 stick celery, trimmed and chopped
1 leek, trimmed and chopped
1 liter chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt and ground pepper
4 small eggs
4 slices of ciabatta or baguette bread
a knob of butter
extra virgin olive oil

1. Chop the tips off the asparagus and put to one side for later. Roughly chop asparagus stalks.

2. To a saucepan containing olive oil, sautee onions, celery, and leeks for 10 minutes, until soft. Add chopped asparagus stalks and stock and simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on.

3. Remove from heat and puree (preferably with a standard or hand-held blender). Season the soup little by little with salt and pepper until just right.

4. Put soup back on the heat, stir in asparagus tips, bring back to the boil and simmer for a few more minutes until the tips have softened.

5. Just before serving the soup, in another saucepan, bring a few cups of water to the boil and, using really fresh eggs, crack each one into the water. Cook 2-3 minutes. [My husband always does the poaching and he swears by putting a couple teaspoons of red or white vinegar in the pan prior to inserting the eggs].

6. Toast the bread slices. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs to a plate and add a knob of butter to them.

7. To serve, divide the soup between eight warmed bowls and place a piece of toast into each. Put a poached egg on top, cut into it to make it runny, season and drizzle with evoo.

Serves 4 [I halved the recipe--just double it to serve 8 or freeze some.]

Spring peonies, Hobro, Denmark


  1. So, I've been avoiding clicking over to these recent posts because Asparagus is one of the few foods on my "gag" list. I know, I know, the things I'm missing, but I just can't stand it.

    On the other hand, I LOVE my "Happy Days with the Naked Chef" cookbook, and two of Jamie's recipes are on our menu this week. Don't you love that he writes how we actually cook: one glass of white wine, 2 glugs of olive oil, etc. We got that cookbook right out of college, and I think it helped me be more confident in the kitchen and realize it's okay to improvise.

    Random thought on the phyllo: can you get puff pastry? Not the same, but maybe a plausable subsitute in that tart dish or others where you have something liquid on top to keep the pastry from "puffing."

  2. Hi Alissa,

    You crack me up. The fact that you have a "gag list" makes up for your rejection of asparagus! So funny. I know, Jamie is the best. So down to earth and accessible.

    So about puff pastry here in Denmark...they have something called tart dough and something called butter dough, but I've tried them and they are not like the Pepperidge Farms puff pastry I know and love.

    They need to get on the ball here! I actually have a recipe for making homemade puff pastry, but do I dare?

    Thanks for reading!