White asparagus for me is better than Green. I always try and be in Switzerland in early May and try and get to a restaurant up in the Uetliberg hills behind Zurich as theirs is the best in the world. Served with either melted Swiss butter, or a French dressing. A side plate of crispy salad and a super-crispy roll complete the picture.
I bought some the other day in Yorkshire – very rarely see it in the UK – and at the same time happened to watch a programme where that brilliant cooking duo The Hairy Bikers made a white asparagus soup…. in Germany.
Today I made that same soup and had it both hot and cold. If you happen to like cold soup – and I do, in summer – cold asparagus soup is better than vichyssoise … by far!
It’s necessary to peel the asparagus well … otherwise the soup will taste woody … and break off the tips which are cooked later for a much shorter time to give some contrast, or bite. You then cook the stalks in chicken stock- only about half a litre to intensify the flavour – and some chopped garlic, until the stalks are falling apart.
I then added some milk and blended the mixture almost to death until it was a smooth soup. At this point it’s time for the hot soup. Just place the tips in the soup for about 3 minutes whilst simmering, and serve with a tiny dash of sherry (or not!) and maybe a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and parsley. Delicious.
Now for the cold. Place in the fridge and when cool (or even better, cold, by putting the pan in the deep freeze for 5 minutes) get a hand whisk and froth up the soup so that a foam forms on the top … it makes it so light and airy … sprinkle some chillies and some parsley over the top, crumble some goats cheese and shred a small slice of parma ham … and serve. Also, absolutely delicious.
You can do the same thing with tomato soup … hot tomato and cold gazpacho and peas … pea and ham when hot, and pea and mint when cold … but I think this asparagus soup is much more unusual and much tastier!
Previous dinner posts from Peter
- Another culinary highlight ... but of a different kind. - May 17th, 2013
- A saturday evening in .... - April 20th, 2013
- Fish pie followed by Peter's Tiramisu ! - March 19th, 2013
- Borough Market, London - March 2nd, 2013
- “There were Angels dining at the Ritz .... and the motor was parked in Berkeley Square” - January 26th, 2013