Asparagus Soup With Crab (Crème d’Argenteui Crabe)
The word Argenteuil in any French recipe almost always indicates asparagus, being the town in north central France famed for this superb seasonal delicacy.
- 1.3 kg/3 lb fresh asparagus
- 30 g/ 1 oz/2 tbsp butter
- 1.5 litres/21/2 pints/6 cups chicken stock
- 30 ml/2 tbsp cornflour
- 125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup whipping cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 175—200 g/6-7 oz white crab meat, to garnish
- Trim the woody ends from the bottom of the asparagus spears and cut the spears into 2.5cm/1 in pieces.
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan or flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are bright green, but not browned.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil over a high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Simmer over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the asparagus is tender, yet crisp. Reserve 12—16 of the asparagus tips for garnishing. Season with salt and pepper, cover and continue cooking for about 15-20 minutes until very tender.
- Purée the soup in a blender or food processor and pass the mixture through the fine blade of a food mill back into the saucepan. Bring the soup back to the boil over a medium-high heat. Blend the cornflour with 30-45 ml/2-3 tbsp cold water and whisk into the boiling soup to thicken, then stir in the cream. Adjust the seasoning.
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowk and top each with a spoonful of the crab meat and a few of the reserved asparagus tips.