May 20, 2017

Kentish Asparagus & Watercress Soup | Celia's Saucer


Soup is kinda my thing. I'm well versed in making all kinds, owing to long days working in a farm kitchen where I had all sorts to hand and a self-set challenge to make something new and delightful every morning. The farm owner would sneak in at night and liberally steal away with bowls full to serve her evening guests, and customers would come in especially for a bowl of the 'delicious soups'. You could say that, for just a while, making soup was my pride and joy. It was my story. 

Life moved on and I don't make soup for a living anymore (although I really wouldn't mind if someone wanted to pay me handsomely for it) but it's what I tend to make when I need a little comfort. When the seasons teeter between winter and spring, and the ground starts to burst with fresh, sweet produce, I scuttle into the kitchen and set to work. 

May is one of the best months of the year for it, owing to the narrow window within which asparagus emerges - my favourite sweet spring veggie. It's also the perfect time for watercress, which is fiery and fresh. So I put the two together. 

To give this one a twist, I cut the rind off a rather large wedge of the Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O that my housemate squirreled back from Bologna and boiled it into the stock. When complemented with a twist of lemon, it imparted a rich undercurrent (and gave me five minutes of gooey rind nibbling pleasure after I scooped out what remained). 

Here's how it came about...

Sweat... 

- One small white onion - sliced finely
- Two garlic cloves - crushed
- A stick of celery - diced
- A pinch of sugar

In a liberal chunk of hot butter (with a small dash of oil to stop it catching) for twenty minutes

Add...

- One small potato - diced
- A bunch of asparagus - chopped

And saute briefly, covering the vegetables and warming them through

Cover with... 

- Boiling water
- A chicken stock cube
- Two large chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. rind

Boil gently for around half an hour, until your vegetables are soft

Add...

- Two large handfuls of watercress
- Half a lemon's worth of lemon zest
- Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the rind, nibble the gooey bits, and blitz your soup into hot, smooth liquid

Serve with buttered toast and enjoy!



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