Asparagus, new potato and garden herb soup
In season: J F M A M J J A S O N D25-40 minutes cooking and 10 mins preparation time Serves 4
This is the most perfect soup for a day like today, when you’re not sure whether it’s going to keep raining or if the sun is going to miraculously break through. This soup is simple and elegant and brilliantly simple. The potatoes provide a creamy, velvety consistency and a lovely earthiness, which balances with the sweetness of the asparagus and the fresh vibrant herbs. Also an advantage is the fact that this soup is both dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan and by virtue of that, low in fat too. When it comes to the herbs, use whatever you like, although the zingy herbs tend to be more complementary. If you don’t have herbs in your garden try asking a neighbour or friend with a herb-patch and do consider growing some, it’s incredibly easy* and they really lift simple food. I nearly always liquidise this soup and therefore, the preparation is fairly rustic, but if you were making a chunky broth you could chop everything into smaller, similar sized pieces to make easier eating.
*honestly, I kill everything in the garden, except my herbs, which seem to magically recover from any damage caused by my far from green fingers.
Ingredients1 diced white onion or a finely sliced leek 2 sticks of celery, finely sliced 1 kg of scrubbed new potatoes, cut into similarly sized pieces 1 tbsp olive oil Enough water or stock to cover the vegetables well, and more if you prefer a thinner soup. 1 bunch of asparagus (about 8 asparagus) A good fist full of fresh herbs from the garden or window-box (e.g. parsley, marjoram, chives, oregano, sorrel, lovage and mint) Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper-to taste
1/. Gently heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and celery and sweat for 5-10 minutes on a low heat. Try not to get any colour on the vegetables, you just want to soften them up a little.
2/. When the onion has become translucent, stir in the potato pieces and coat in the onion and celery mixture. Add enough water or stock to cover the vegetables, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the potato is just cooked through.
3/. Whilst the potato is cooking, prepare the asparagus by removing any woody ends and give it a quick rinse in cold water to remove any compost or sand. Cut each one into inch long pieces. Rinse the herbs and very roughly chop them.
4/. When the potato is cooked through, check the seasoning of the broth, adjust to taste and toss in the herbs and asparagus. Turn off the heat and leave for about 10 minutes or until the asparagus is tender. This way the soup stays a lovely fresh green colour.
5/. Liquidise the soup thoroughly, or leave chunky if you prefer. Then reheat gently, if serving immediately, stirring continuously until piping hot. Alternatively, save a taste of summer for a dark day in winter, chill and freeze in a container.Why not try… Using peas or broad beans in place of the asparagus. Grab a few extra herbs to sprinkle over the top of the soup when serving. You could also use the soup as a sauce to accompany simple baked trout and serve with a warm potato and herb salad. Maybe you have some variations of your own? Do let us know!