Veggies on the counter

Asparagus, Leek & Lime Soup + Crispy Chilli White Beans

Posted in Uncategorized by veggies on the counter on May 17, 2015

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It’s that time of the year when asparagus are finally in season. They’re insanely expensive in Portugal (I’ve noticed many are imported from Chile or Peru – never understood why) but, this time around, I was lucky to find them half their price at the local supermarket. I brought home three bunches. Two of them went into this soup, and the other one was thrown into a salad, grilled. So, as you might guess, there’s been a bit of an asparagus overdose over here, but a well worth one – the soup I’m sharing with you today totally surpassed my expectations.

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I’ve first saw asparagus soup here, and then here, and that’s when I got convinced to try my own version. Before that, I’ve only ever had grilled and steamed asparagus with a little salt (simplicity is key, specially when dealing with pricy seasonal produce). I also thought about adding a nice topping, because blended soups can be a little monotonous without one – the ideia for the crispy white beans comes from here (coincidentally, Tara also used them on top of an asparagus soup). A couple of things you should consider when making this soup: first, do use the leeks’ green parts (they’re edible, nutritious and delicious) and second, by all means make the topping. The bean croutons, as I like to call them, bind everything together because of their salty and crispy qualities, making a nice contrast to the soup’s smoothness and delicate flavour.

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Asparagus, Leek & Lime Soup + Crispy Chilli White Beans

Recipe visually inspired by Seven Spoons (the original link has been deactivated a while ago)

(serves 4)

for the soup:

500 g / 3 large leeks, tougher ends removed

2 Tablespoons olive oil

640 g / 2 medium sized asparagus bunches

625 ml / 2 ½ cups low sodium vegetable stock

250 ml / 1 cup full fat coconut milk

½ teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

½ teaspoon lime zest, plus more serving

juice of ½ lime

for the crispy chilli white beans:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3 dried small chillies

1/4 teaspoon salt

330 g large white beans (canned is fine), rinsed and drained

To make the soup: Cut the ends of the leeks. Cut them lengthwise in half and then into thin half moons. Place the cut leeks in a colander and wash under running water to remove as much dirt as possible.

Pour the oil into a large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, but not smoking, add the leeks and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until they’re soft.

In the meantime, trim the ends of the asparagus. Chop the asparagus stalks into 2-3 cm pieces and add them to the pot with the leeks. Add the salt, stock and coconut milk, bring to a boil and, once boiling, decrease the heat to medium and cook for 5-6 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Add the lime zest and juice and, using a blender, puree the soup until smooth (you might have to do this in batches). Have a taste and adjust the seasoning, adding freshly ground black pepper and more salt if needed.

To make the crispy beans: Dry the beans with a clean towel to remove as much moisture as possible. In a mortar an pestle, combine the dried chillis with the salt and crush until you get a fine powder. Add the oil, beans and chilli seasoning to a large skillet over medium heat. Mix with a wooden spoon to coat the beans evenly, and cook for 15 minutes or until they’re crisp and golden brown.

Serve the soup in bowls with a few tablespoons of the crispy beans on top. Add a little extra lime juice and zest to the soup right before digging in, if desired.

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