k Asparagus, watercress and wild garlic soup with cashew cream k
k ...alternatively with Manchego and Iberico Ham Crisps k
I adore the colour of this soup – it’s spring and summer in a bowl. Wild garlic is growing all along our roadsides in Ibiza although sadly it’s coming to an end now.
For this recipe I used a little cluster of tiny garlic bulbs and put the gorgeous flowers in a vase. Don’t worry about getting wild garlic, as fresh garlic can be used as an alternative. This soup has an array of health benefits too: with alkalising watercress to support gentle cleansing and aids liver function while the asparagus promotes circulation to the kidneys.
The cashew cream (a doddle to make) provides a delicious creamy dairy-free texture to the soup and the healthy fats promote optimal brain function and nutrient absorption to the body. If I’ve got the boys coming around for dinner I will usually go for the salty crisps of Manchego Cheese and Iberico Ham – it’s more of a man thing.
You can even try a soft poached which makes it more of a main meal – the choice is yours, I’m sure you can think of other ways of spicing it up.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
For the soup
30g butter (or 1 tablespoon olive oil)
400g (about 3 bunches) asparagus spears – chopped
4 shallots, finely sliced
Wild garlic bulbs (or 1 garlic clove crushed)
2 large handfuls of watercress (or rocket if you prefer)
800ml organic vegetable stock
Fresh ground pepper
For The cashew cream
70g Cashews (soaked in water fro 3 hours)
Pinch sea salt
For the Manchego and Iberico Ham Crisps
100g fresh grated manchego (or parmesan)
fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
fresh ground pepper
100g Iberico Ham – thinly sliced
Method for the soup
1. Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan and fry the chopped asparagus for a few minutes to soften but still vibrant in colour, remove and set aside.
2. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook for 5-10 minutes then pour over the stock, bring to the boil, add the asparagus and watercress, remove from the heat then blitz with a hand blender until you have a nice smooth consistency.
3. Season generously with black pepper (and salt if you think necessary) and add hot water to loosen if needed.
For the cashew cream
Cashew cream is an amazing dairy free discovery for me. The creamy velvety texture is unbelievable and the fact that is good for you is a real added bonus. Here I’ve only used a small quantity here, as a drizzle is all you need. Ideally soak the cashews in water for approx three hours, drain the water and put the cashews into a high power blender (nutri bullet) with a covering of water and blitz. Scrape down the sides and add more water until you have a thick pouring consistency.
For the crisps (as an optional serving suggestion)
1. Preheat oven to 180°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon cheese into 2 inch wide rows a couple of inches apart onto the baking sheet (you can make circles if you wish)
2. Sprinkle with pepper and a few sprigs of thyme. Bake at for approx 8 minutes or until crisp and golden. Cool completely on baking sheet. Carefully remove from the baking sheet using a spatula. Try resist eating them all before you serve the soup. They keep well, so you can also make these in advance.
3. For the Ham crisps simply roll them into tight straws and place on a backing tray and cook for approximately 10 minutes – or until they go crispy.