Asparagus Soup with Crispy Parmesan and Prosciutto Croutons

Asparagus Soup with Crispy Parmesan and Prosciutto Croutons

Serves 2 generously

Ingredients for soup
2 bunches of asparagus
1 brown onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for croutons
3-4 thick slices of sourdough bread, diced
½ cup parmesan, grated
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
80g prosciutto, torn

Method
Place onion, garlic and olive oil into a heavy based saucepan on medium heat. Saute for 5 or so minutes until onion is translucent.
Add asparagus and stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Then blend soup smooth with a stick mixer or in a blender. Season to taste.
While soup is cooking, preheat oven to 160C fan-forced. Combine all crouton ingredients except prosciutto in a large bowl. Tip out onto a baking paper lined tray and top with torn prosciutto. Bake for 15 minutes until croutons are golden and prosciutto is crispy.
Serve soup in bowls and top generously with croutons.

Australian Asparagus In Abundance This Spring

Spring has sprung and so has Australian asparagus. Fresh, crisp and delicious spears will be available nationwide from early September. 

Asparagus farmers say the season is looking promising thanks to warmer winter temperatures and late rainfall across all growing regions, which has produced an abundant crop of great quality spears. 

Australian asparagus grower and President of the Australian Asparagus Council Alex Motta is excited for the season to start and says there are a couple of tips for Aussies to keep in mind when picking crisp and juicy spears. 

"We've had higher temperatures this winter than previous years, which has meant our crop has thrived and we're thrilled to be bringing this season's harvest of delicious, crisp asparagus for all Australians to enjoy." 

"Shoppers should keep an eye out for asparagus that are bright, smooth and uniform in size with closed, compact tips. That way they know their asparagus will be firm and moist," said Mr Motta. 

"To keep your asparagus fresher for longer, you can store them like fresh cut flowers. Stand them upright in the fridge in a glass with a splash of cold water or wrap them in a damp towel and place them in the crisper." 

This versatile veggie can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even as a snack – Australian asparagus is tender and luscious with a herbaceous and earthy flavour profile, adding a unique flavour and texture to every day meals. 

"Fresh, locally-grown spears can be enjoyed in many different ways and can boost the health profile of everyday meals. Cook some spears on the BBQ, toss them through a stir-fry, roast them in the oven, blanch, steam or boil or even eat them raw to make the most of them while they are in season," said Mr Motta. 

Spring into health with Aussie asparagus 
Australian asparagus has a well-balanced health profile and is a delicious addition to your diet. Just one serve of asparagus (3-4 spears or 75g) contains: 
• B vitamins: such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and biotin, which helps enzymes metabolise food 
• Folate: One serve of asparagus provides 22% of an adult's daily needs. Folate is particularly important for normal cell division and tissue formation during pregnancy 
• Vitamin C: One serve of asparagus provides a quarter of our daily needs of vitamin C. It helps absorb iron in the diet and it's important for a healthy, functioning immune system 
• Potassium: Essential for a steady heartbeat and healthy blood pressure 
• Iron: Assists the flow of oxygen around the body 
• Low in kilojoules: Asparagus has no cholesterol, virtually no fat and only 67 kilojoules per serve 

Did you know? Asparagus spears are cut by hand, usually at night and early morning when it's cooler in order to retain maximum freshness. In ideal temperatures, the spears can grow as quickly as 1 cm every hour, meaning the spear can grow fully overnight! 

Recipe from Melanie Lionello for Australian Asparagus.




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