Some years it can just be a soupy Winter, you can feel it even before Winter begins.
A gentle gentle soup today. Not one for people who like punch in their food. This one is like cream velvet. Gentle. Reflective. Inner. Wonderful. Although it is Late Autumn, we still have good quality asparagus in the shops. It is a soup that can be eaten hot or cold.
Did you know that the use of asparagus was introduced into the grande cuisine of France under the Italian influence during the Renaissance? It was part of a progressive change in eating habits in France that gave more emphasis to vegetables, long considered the food of peasants.
Velouté d’asperges: Cream of Asparagus Soup
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
750g small green asparagus
a gentle herb – chervil if you can get it, some lemon verbena, a little lemongrass
1.5 Tblspn extra virgin olive oil
1 Tblspn arrowroot
1 cup milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
large pinch of nutmeg
3 Tblspns thick crème fraîche or thick cream
Cut off 3cm tip of the asparagus and reserve. Slice the remainder into think rounds. Rinse the herbs and pat dry.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook the asparagus rounds for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until just browned. Add the herbs and 4 cups of water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Purée the asparagus mixture in a blender or using an immersion blender. Strain to remove any solids.
Pour the liquid back into the saucepan and add the arrowroot mixed with the milk. Add salt and pepper to taste and the nutmeg.
Put the pan over low heat and bring the soup back to the boil, and boil for about 4 minutes stirring all the time. Add the tips of the asparagus. When the soup is thick and the tips are just cooked, remove from the heat and add the crème fraîche. Stir to mix.
Serve at once, or it can be served cool.