The last days have been just beautiful and sunny, the streets are dry and the snow has melted away and the days are longer and brighter. Asparagus and large bushes of herbs have arrived into stores along with all kinds of Spring vegetables so I decided to put that into good use.
This roasted garlic and parsnip soup is sweet and flavourful, where the refreshing basil vinaigrette balances with its acidity, while the sautéed asparagus toppings add a touch of spring to the bowl. The garlic is mellowed by the long slow cooking leaving a decadent aftertaste to the soup. The soup is velvety with a lot of depth, while the light pale colour against the deep green is a vision in itself, making this a comforting spring treat.
Ingredients (2-3 large bowls)
Garnish: sautéed asparagus tops, basil vinaigrette, black pepper and fresh baby leaves of basil and thyme
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. In a roasting tray, add the peeled garlic and roughly chopped parsnips. Coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper and place into the oven for about 45 minutes.
2. Add a dollop of butter into a saucepan along with a chopped shallot, apple and celery stalk. Cook gently with the lid until the onion becomes translucent. Add in the goods from the baking tray and enough water so all the vegetables are covered. Also add in a bit of chicken stock. Let it simmer gently for about 10 minutes before removing it from the stove.
3. Purée the vegetables into a smooth paste in a blender. Place sauce pan back on a gentle heat and add in the cream (and more water if consistency is too thick) and the grated parmesan. Ground in white pepper and salt if needed. Let it simmer at low heat for another 5 minutes before serving.
4. Ready to serve: For the garnish, saute the tops of the asparagus in a bit of butter on a hot pan for a couple of minutes. Serve on top of the soup with a drizzle of basil vinaigrette and black pepper.
Blitz into a smooth paste in a blender. The honey makes the vinaigrette a bit sweeter, but since the soup itself is rather sweet I prefer the vinaigrette more acidic.