The delicate flavours in this asparagus and potato spring broth will delight your guests, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
I cannot think, at this time of year, of a more perfect bowl of gourmet vegetarian extravagance.
A spring broth of asparagus and new potatoes (serves 4)
500g asparagus, farm-fresh and, preferably, not too trimmed
1 bunch spring onions
1–2tspn sea salt
350g small new potatoes, washed and scrupulously scraped clean
3–4 sprigs mint, leaves finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1–2tbspn finest olive oil
Cut off the woody stems of the asparagus and, furthermore, an inch or two into the lower green part of the spear as well, then put the perfect spears remaining aside. Rinse the ‘cut- offs’ well in plenty of cold running water until any sand/soil has been thoroughly washed away. Trim the spring onions and slice off the green tops (reserve the paler parts).
Place both the asparagus bits and green spring-onion tops into a food processor and pulse to a mulch. Tip into a stainless-steel saucepan, cover with 1½ litres of water (use some of it to rinse out the processor so none of the mulch remains) and add 1½ teaspoons of salt. Bring to a very quiet simmer, put on a lid and cook for 35–40 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into quarters (or sixths, depending on the size), slice the ‘perfect spears’ into short lengths and then finely chop the remaining spring onions. Put everything to one side.
Strain the asparagus/spring onion broth through a fine sieve into a bowl, then return to the pan (briefly rinsed) and add the potatoes. Simmer until they’re almost cooked through, then add the asparagus and spring onions. Once the potatoes and asparagus are both tender, stir in the mint and then taste; you may wish for a touch more salt. Ladle into soup plates, grind some black pepper over them and trickle a little olive oil over each serving.