I would never have made this asparagus soup if it wasn't for the No Croutons Required competition over at Lisa's Kitchen this month. In fact, when I saw the challenge was to make a soup or salad using asparagus, as much as I love entering this event, I was pretty much going to give it a miss this time around.
It's not that I don't like the stuff; I just find it boring. Maybe, because around the time I started cutting my teeth cooking in vegetarian restaurants, it was always the special, like the kind of exotic ingredient of the time - rather like basil or rocket have been. So like these other two, I kind of OD'd on the stuff during staff-meals. No one else, to blame as I was usually the one that cooked them anyway. Usually I combined it with some cheese; mozarrella or halumi and pan fried. Not at all bad, just done, done, done.
What changed the tide was thinking what I could do with asparagus that was completely the opposite of this, something really weird. I first came up with the idea of an asparagus and adzuki bean baked custard affair, a kind of improvised Japanese dessert. Unfortunately, it didn't get past Theresa. Oh well. So I tamed it down; "what about an Asian asparagus soup with ginger, soya sauce, lime and coconut milk?". That seemed to go down better, in fact, almost too well when I was expecting a fight. I was lost. I reverted to plan C, always a good back up when you don't know what the hell to cook; cook what you fancy..
Creamy Asparagus Soup (serves 4)
1 tbs olive oil
2 celery sticks (chopped fine)
1 bay leaf
good handful of chopped fresh parsley
2 cups chopped Asparagus (peel a little the woody ends and then chop with the rest)
1 medium potato (peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes)
1 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
3 cups water
1 tbs light miso
2 tbs tahini
1 cup soya milk (or any other vegan milk)
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
- Warm the olive oil in a saucepan and sweat the celery with the bay leaf (semi-covered saute)
- When the celery is soft add the parsley and stir once, then add the potato and asparagus and water.
- Bring to the boil and then semi-cover again and simmer for roughly 15 minutes or until the potato is soft.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and puree in a food processor or with an immersion blender.
- Bring back up to temperature if you want it hot, but equally as good chilled.