This delicious, velvety asparagus soup is relatively easy to whip up.
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 bunches asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths
1 large desiree potato, peeled and roughly chopped
800ml fresh chicken stock
150ml pouring cream
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup finely diced day-old sourdough bread (or any kind of dense bread)
20ml olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
3 tbsp finely grated good-quality parmesan
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-based saucepan.
Add the leek, garlic, salt and pepper and sweat over a low heat until the leek is soft.
Add the asparagus and potato and cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, so vegetables are lightly coated in butter mixture.
Add the stock and simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the asparagus and potatoes are tender.
Transfer the mixture to a blender and process until smooth.
Return the mixture to the saucepan, add the cream and lemon juice, and heat until just warmed through.
Remove from the heat and season to taste.
For the croutons, combine the bread, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Place the bread on an oven tray in one layer, and bake for 4-6 minutes until lightly golden.
Remove the croutons from the oven and sprinkle with parmesan.
Bake for another 1-2 minutes until croutons are brown and crisp, tossing to stop burning. Allow to cool on tray.
Serve the soup in large bowls, topped with a spoonful or 2 of the croutons.