Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Creamy Asparagus Soup with a Poached Egg on Toast
A few weeks ago I professed my love for Jamie Oliver, and specifically for his new book, Jamie at Home. This Creamy Asparagus Soup with a Poached Egg on Toast makes my Summer Jamie Record 3 for 3. First I tried to Slow-Cooked Artichokes, Sweet Cherry Tomatoes, Thyme & Basil (heaven...) then the Minted Creamed Asparagus & Ricotta Ravioli with Asparagus Tips (delish...).
Now only if he'll let us move into his $3.5 million English estate, feed us from his garden all year, and let me tend to a chicken or two....
I think floating a poached egg on toast in a big bowl of springy soup is a genius idea, I might have to make it mandatory. This asparagus soup is so light and flavorful (and creamy even though there is no butter or cream) the crusty bread and rich melty egg are the ideal cherry on top, taking it to the full-face-in-bowl enjoyment level.
Delicious eaten hot (or cold on really hot days with the help of a little lemon juice). This recipe is for 8 but feel free to halve it (I did) or freeze soup leftovers.
Creamy Asparagus Soup with a Poached Egg on Toast:serves 8
*Vegan without Egg
1 3/4 pounds asparagus, woody ends removed
2 medium white onions, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
2 quarts good-quality vegetable stock
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
8 small very fresh free-range or organic eggs
8 slices ciabatta bread
extra virgin olive oil
Chop the tips off your asparagus and put these to one side for later. Roughly chop the asparagus stalks. Get a large, deep pan on the heat and add a good glug of olive oil. Gently fry the onions, celery and leeks for around 10 minutes, until soft and sweet, without coloring. Add the chopped asparagus stalks and stock and simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on. Remove from the heat and blitz with a handheld immersion blender (*one of my favorite kitchen tools!!) or in a standard blender. Season the soup bit by bit (this is important) with salt and pepper until just right (*I ended up using about a teaspoon of salt for half the recipe). Put the soup back on the heat, stir in the asparagus tips, bring back to the boil and simmer for a few more minutes until the tips have softened.
Just before I'm ready to serve (Jamie talking here) the soup, I get a wide casserole type pan on the heat with 3-4 inches of boiling water. Using really fresh eggs, I very quickly crack all 8 into the water. Don't worry about poaching so many at the same time. They don't have to look perfect. A couple of minutes and they'll be done, as you want them to be a bit runny. Toast your ciabatta slices. Using a slotted spoon, remove all the poached eggs to a plate and sprinkle with salt & pepper. To serve, divide the soup between eight warmed (*who has time to warm?) bowls and place a piece of toast into each. Put a poached egg on top, cut into it to make it runny, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.