ASPARAGUS END, HORSERADISH AND COURGETTE SOUP
Asparagus is still around until the end of June and, as I learnt at the APA’s (Ayurvedic Professionals Association) inaugural Ayurfest earlier this month, asparagus is one of the most powerful herbs that we have in the UK. It’s the “female friend” — good for women’s everything throughout their lifetimes. Dr. Mardo, a highly regarded Vaidya who flew in from Pune, India, recommended asparagus juice as well as enjoying asparagus cooked in meals.
The past couple of months we’ve been enjoying gently griddled asparagus spears — check out the asparagus with orange. But what to do with all those rough woody ends? They’re still great — they taste great and contain great nutrition, but they’re not so nice in the mouth or on the teeth so this is what I’ve been doing with them — blitzing them into an asparagus soup with a courgette thrown in to make it creamy. A little horseradish turns this into a moreish dish. You can cook it down until it’s thick and creamy if you like and use it like a sauce or gravy — seriously, it’s good. Of course you don’t need to wait until you have a collection of asparagus ends (store them in the freezer if you’re saving them up) — you can also do it with the same weight of whole asparagus (ends included!). Add in garlic if you like, onion, spring onion, celery, peas, whatever — soups are for suping up. But actually I like it really, really simple with just the horseradish kick. A 3-ingredient showstopper. By the way, I had this for breakfast the other day topped with a poached egg! It was delicious.
400g asparagus ends or roughly 2 big bunches
200g or 2 medium courgettes
750ml vegetable stock (usually 1½ cubes and 750ml water) or bone broth
1 tbsp horseradish cream
½ tsp black pepper
Optional: Make it creamy with an avocado, soaked cashews, a dollop of cottage cheese
Roughly chop the courgettes into chunks and the asparagus spears if they’re whole.
Heat the water in a pan (or use the kettle to boil and then fill the pan), then mix in the crumbled stock cube/bouillon.
Add the asparagus and courgette, and other veg if using.
Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Simmer lid off for a few more minutes or until very tender.
Remove from the heat and carefully blitz with a stick or insertion blender until smooth.
Stir in the horseradish and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, and add some more hot water if necessary, until you reach your desired consistency.
Drizzle with olive oil and serve.