A Cornish girl's food adventures

Asparagus soup with lemon & rosemary pangrattato

Asparagus season always seems like a welcome relief at the end of the grey winter months. In my current part of the world it’s kind of big deal too as it’s noted for growing some really fabulous quality asparagus. It’s just a shame that the season is so short!
It can be quite a wasteful vegetable though as let’s face it, it’s all about those delicious sweet tips so it’s nice to have a recipe in your arsenal that uses all of the asparagus to its full potential.
This actually makes more pangrattato than you will probably want with the soup but it’s a little tricky so make in smaller quantities. Any leftover is absolutely delicious sprinkled on top of pasta.

serves 2
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 white onion
300g asparagus
1 tbsp flour
1 pint vegetable stock
2 tbsp creme fraiche
salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of crusty white bread (a little stale is best)
zest of 1 lemon
sprig of rosemary
black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Dice the onion and roughly chop the asparagus, keeping a few tips to garnish the soup if you like and discarding any very woody ends. Gently fry all of this in the olive oil, but don’t allow it to colour at all, the onions should just be translucent. Stir in the flour, making sure that there are no lumps and cook for a further minute or two before adding the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 10 minutes until the asparagus is tender. Blend the soup with the creme fraiche until it’s completely smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make the pangrattato by tearing up the bread and blitzing it in a food processor together with the rosemary, lemon zest and black pepper. Add the oil and quickly pulse it again so make sure that all the breadcrumbs are well coated. Transfer them to a non-stick frying pan over a low heat and gently toast the breadcrumbs until they are beautifully golden. Keep stirring the breadcrumbs to make sure that they don’t burn.
Serve the soup garnished with a little extra creme fraiche, a generous sprinkle of pangrattato and perhaps a steamed asparagus tip or two.

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