Mark Hix recipe: Thai asparagus soup

Serves 4
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This soup is a great way to use up any excess asparagus you might have hanging around.

If you would like to give it even more of an Asian flavour, add black fungus or shiitake mushrooms.

250g asparagus with the woody ends trimmed (keep the offcuts for the broth)
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small leek, washed and roughly chopped
1 stick of lemon grass, roughly chopped
2 lime leaves
A small piece (about 20g) of root ginger or galangal
3 cloves of garlic
Stalks from Thai basil and coriander
1.5ltrs of vegetable stock
2tbsp Thai fish sauce

For the garnish

1 stick of lemon grass, outer leaves trimmed off, and finely chopped
4 lime leaves
A small piece of root ginger, peeled and shredded
1 mild red chilli, seeded and sliced
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the angle
A few sprigs of Thai basil
A few sprigs of coriander
60g Oriental mushrooms – enoki or hon-shimeji

Put the woody ends of the asparagus in a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients for the soup. Bring to the boil and simmer gently, skimming regularly, for 1 hour.

Strain the soup through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean pan and season with salt and pepper.

Now, take the asparagus and slice thinly on the angle. Add this and the other ingredients for the garnish to the pan. Simmer for a minute, then serve.