The other day I had the rare opportunity to take an undisturbed afternoon nap. As would naturally happen to anyone, when just on the verge of falling asleep my mind summoned forth the image of the bag of aspargus I had in the fridge. I’d used some of it for last week’s panch mishali torkari but there was still a lot of it left. Asparagus, as you know, is not a restful vegetable and the next thing I knew I had an idea for asparagus soup racing through my head. I leapt out of bed and went into the kitchen and made it. And it was good. Being kind, I am willing to share the recipe with you. Things to note are there two. First, despite asparagus being the main ingredient, this is not very asparagusy—you can address this if you so desire by simply using more asparagus. Second, the flavours here are not at all Indian, more Southeast Asian. Okay, lets make soup.
- 1 lb asparagus, trimmed of the woody bits and each stalk cut into 3-4 pieces
- 3/4 cup or so of sliced leek (white and green portions)
- 1 tblspn or so of sliced garlic
- 1 tblspn or so of sliced ginger
- 6 cups of stock of choice
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 tblspn fish sauce (optional)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 4-6 lime leaves (optional)
- 1 tblspn toasted pine nuts (optional)
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- 4 tblspns olive oil
- Get a large stainless steel or similar pan hot, add half the olive oil and dump in the asparagus. Saute for 5-7 minutes, till beginning to char.
- While the asparagus is going, heat the rest of the olive oil in your soup pot and bung in the leeks, ginger and garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Once the asparagus is charred dump into the pot and add the stock. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Uncover the pot and let cool for a while. Then transfer the contents to a blender and puree to a smooth consistency. Work in batches if necessary. Get it as silky smooth as possible.
- Return the pureed soup to the pot, bring back to a high simmer and add the coconut milk and the fish sauce (if using). Simmer for another 5-7 minutes.
- Taste and add salt.
- Add the lime juice, lime leaves (if using), a few grindings of pepper, mix in and simmer for a few more minutes.
- Serve topped with toasted pine nuts.
- If you want this to be really asparagusy aim to up the asparagus to at least 1.5 lbs, perhaps even 2. This will also make the consistency thicker.
- The lime leaves will really emphasize the acid. If you don’t want this or don’t have lime leaves on hand, just leave them out.
- If using fish sauce, make sure to taste the soup before adding salt.