Fredy Girardet: 'I like to serve a light little soup at the start of a meal. In a menu of four or fives courses, this is one of the best soups for sharpening the appetite'. Servings: 4 8 Thin green asparagus spears 6 Fat green asparagus spears, -- about 10 cm (4 in) long 1 Shallot, medium-sized 100 g Fresh morels (3 1/2 oz) or -- 15 g (1/2 oz) dried ones 100 g Unsalted butter (3 1/2 oz) 200 ml Double cream (scant 1/2 pint Salt Pepper Cayenne Preparation Clean the asparagus spears and cook the thin ones for about 5 minutes and the fat ones for about 10 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain both kinds and reserve the water in which they cooked. Cut off the tips of the eight thin spears and set them aside for the garnish. Peel and chop the shallot finely. Wash the morels CAREFULLY and cut them into quarters (if you are using dried ones, soak them in water for at least half an hour before this step). Heat half the butter in a saucepan. Add two-thirds of the chopped shallot and colour in the butter. Add the six fat asparagus spears and 200 ml (a scant 1/2 pint) of their reserved cooking water. Bring to the boil. Add the cream and reduce it by boiling fast for 2 minutes. Liquidise the soup with 30g (1 oz) of the remaining butter. Wash out the saucepan. Strain the liquidized soup through a fine sieve. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne, and return it to the cleaned saucepan. Set it aside. Finishing Reheat the thin asparagus tips by warming them through in a little of their cooking liquid. Reheat the asparagus soup. Put the morels, the rest of the chopped shallot and the remaining 20 g (3/4 oz) butter into a small saucepan. Season with a little salt and cook gently. The morels will excludea little liquid. Leave them to cook until they have given off all their liquid, at which stage they will be done. Take them off the heat. Serving Put a ladleful of the soup into each soup-plate. Garnish the centre of each one with a share of morels and two asparagus tips. (From: Fredy Girardet, Cuisine spontanee, M-Papermac, ISBN 0-333-40957-4) Posted by Rene Gagnaux
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