Asparagus and shallot soup
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins Ingredients 12 asparagus spears 1 tsp olive oil 50g unsalted butter 4 shallots, diced 1 garlic clove, crushed 800ml vegetable stock 200g watercress salt and pepper crème fraîche, to serve chives, chopped, to serve
3. 4 tbsp 1 tbsp Method: 1. To prepare asparagus, remove tough parts at bottom of stems, chop tips off four spears and set aside for garnishing, then finely chop remaining spears. Heat olive oil and butter in a pan, add shallots and garlic and sweat for 5 minutes over a low heat. Add asparagus, cook for 2 minutes then add stock. Bring to boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add watercress,
5. cook for 2 minutes then remove from heat. Blitz soup in a blender, then strain through a sieve. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, pour soup into bowls and top with crème fraîche, chives and asparagus tips.
RECIPE BY CHEF MARCUS BEAN, WINNER OF IRON CHEF UK 2010