Asparagus and Pea Soup with Chervil

Asparagus and Pea Soup with Chervil

This Asparagus and Pea Soup is an easy and versatile spring or summer recipe.   It can be served either hot or cold and works well as a light lunch or supper or as a first course at a dinner party.

I make lots of soups in autumn and winter – a home-made vegetable soup is one of my favourite lunches – but not so many in spring and summer.  However, I have a few soups in my repertoire, like this Asparagus and Pea Soup (and also my Leek and Potato Soup with Fresh Chives) which are just as good, or better, eaten cold rather than hot.  This is fantastic in a typical English summer, with variable weather, as you don’t know when you are making the soup whether you will need warming up with a piping hot bowl or cooling down!

In praise of fresh herbs

I use chervil, which has a delicate aniseed flavour, in this soup.   It is one of my favourite summer herbs and is very easy to grow and will flourish in your garden or in a pot on your window-ledge.   If you don’t grow it yourself, it may be hard to source and dill, which also has an aniseed flavour, or parsley or chives are good substitutes. A sprinkle of fresh herbs are a brilliant way of enhancing both the flavour and the look of a home-made soup.

Other asparagus recipes

If you love asparagus, you might also like my Asparagus and Herb Cheese Tart and my Asparagus Quiche.

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Asparagus Soup

Asparagus and Pea Soup with Chervil

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Delicious and versatile, as it can be eaten hot or cold, this Asparagus and Pea Soup, enhanced with fresh Chervil, is perfect for a light lunch or as a first course at a summer dinner party.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • 250 g (8 oz) fresh asparagus
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable bouillon or stock powder
  • 500 ml (1 pint) water
  • 175 g (6 oz) frozen peas (defrosted)
  • A little milk to thin the soup – around 250 ml (Half a pint)
  • A bunch of chervil (or parsley or dill)
  • A little double cream to serve

Instructions

  1. Peel and chop the onion and the potatoes and put the pieces in a large pan with the butter.   Fry gently for about 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
  2. Remove the ends of the asparagus stems as these can be woody and difficult to eat. The best way of doing this is to simply bend the stem and it will snap at the right point.
  3. Once you have removed the woody ends from the asparagus, cut the tip off each spear and set aside.  Then chop the stalks into 1 cm sections.
  4. Add the pieces of chopped asparagus stalk to the pan with the onion and potato pieces.  Add 500 ml of water and 2 teaspoons of vegetable bouillon or stock powder.
  5. Simmer for around 15 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked.
  6. Then add the frozen peas and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  7. Put the soup into a blender (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth.
  8. Return the soup to the large pan.  Add sufficient milk to thin the soup to the desired consistency – you may either want a thicker, chunkier soup or a thinner one.
  9. If you plan to serve the soup hot, put the reserved asparagus tips into the soup and they will cook in it while it is reheated.   If you plan to serve the soup cold, it is best to steam the asparagus tips separately for 5 minutes and then add them to the soup just before serving.
  10. Serve topped with chopped chervil, or alternatively parsley, and a swirl of cream.

Notes

This soup is very versatile and can be served either hot or cold.

Keywords: asparagus and pea soup, asparagus, chervil, cold soup

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Spinach Tart

Spinach Tart with Peas, Feta and Pine Nuts

This Spinach Tart, flavoured with nutmeg, is just what I want to eat in Spring! At this time of year, I crave fresh greens and particularly want something that is light but tasty. The filling consists of fresh spinach combined with peas which add a note of sweetness plus nuggets of salty feta cheese. The tart is topped with toasted pine nuts which add a crunchy texture as well as their delicious, nutty flavour.

Pretty much all of my recipes use some kind of herb or spice. I love the way that they transform simple ingredients. If you choose flavourings that really work with your ingredients, adding herbs and spices is a way to make your recipes extra-special with very little additional effort.

Nutmeg

In this Spinach Tart recipe, I have used nutmeg as the main flavouring as I think it goes particularly well with spinach. If you have only used ready-powdered nutmeg, I really recommend that you buy a jar of whole nutmegs, which can be found in every supermarket. When you have done this, use an ordinary kitchen grater to grate a little piece off one of the nutmegs. Hold the shavings in your hand and inhale. That is the real scent of nutmeg! You can shave a little nutmeg into your dishes whenever you need it and it will have that wonderful, spicy aroma and taste.

Although nutmeg is often associated with sweet dishes and desserts, such as Bread and Butter Pudding or Baked Custard, I think it works very well in savoury dishes. I think it is particularly good in savoury dishes with a hint of sweetness such as Caramelised Onion Tart which uses slow-cooked onions.

I love a Tart!

Savoury vegetable-based tarts are a fantastic, cook-ahead lunch or supper. They are great either hot or at room temperature. Also, in my experience, they are one of the vegetarian dishes which please non-vegetarians too. In addition to Spinach Tart and Caramelised Onion Tart, you might also want to look at my Beetroot Tart, Carrot Tart, Garlic Tart, Tomato Tart, Herb Tartlets and Butternut Squash Tart with Sage

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Spinach Tart with Nutmeg

Spinach Tart

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 1 tart 1x
  • Category: Savoury tart
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Spinach Tart combines fresh, green spinach with the sweetness of peas, salty feta and crunchy pine nuts.  It is perfect for a vegetarian light lunch or supper.


Scale

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 275 g plain flour
  • 125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
  • Salt
  • A little water

For the filling:

  • 1 onion
  • 300 g fresh spinach
  • 100 g frozen peas (defrosted)
  • 125 g ricotta
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • Grated nutmeg to taste
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 50 g feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl.  Add the fat and combine –  either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough. 
  3. Roll out your pastry and use it to line your quiche or flan dish.   Bake for 10  minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”.  This will stop the filling making it soggy.  
  4. Peel and chop the onion.  Heat the butter and oil in your frying pan.   It helps if the pan is good quality with a thick bottom as this will disseminate the heat evenly and prevent burning.  Add the onion to the pan, season with salt and pepper,  and cook at a very low heat for about 10 minutes until soft.
  5. Place the spinach in a saucepan with a little water and cook gently, with the lid on, for about 5 minutes until the leaves are wilted.  Remove the spinach leaves from the pan and, as soon as they are cool enough, squeeze to remove excess moisture and then roughly chop them.
  6. Put the softened onion, chopped spinach and defrosted peas into a large mixing bowl.  Mix in the ricotta, cream and eggs.   Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.   
  7. Spread the mixture in the pastry case.   
  8. Crumble the feta cheese and sprinkle on top of the mixture.
  9. Place your quiche or flan dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.  After it has been cooking for 15 minutes, sprinkle the pine nuts on top and return it to the oven.

Keywords: spinach, tart, quiche, feta, pine nuts, peas, vegetarian

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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