Asparagus avgolemono

Asparagus avgolemono

By
From
New Feast
Serves
4
Photographer
Alan Benson

Egg and lemon soups and sauces are a distinctive feature of both Greek and Turkish cookery, dating back to medieval times. The appeal of avgolemono (as they are known in Greek) or terbiye (Turkish) sauces and soups is that they are rich and velvety-smooth, with a refreshing lemony flavour. It's a combination that perfectly complements new-season asparagus, without the high butter content of a Hollandaise sauce.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small shallot, finely diced
200g asparagus
75g orzo pasta
650-800ml Vegetable stock
salt
freshly ground white pepper
6 egg yolks
1/2 lemon, juiced
extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the shallot and sauté gently for a few minutes until it softens.
  2. Peel the asparagus stalks. Cut off the tips and set them aside. Slice the stalks thinly on the diagonal. Add them to the pan and saute for a few minutes. Stir in the orzo pasta, then add 750 ml of the stock to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 8 minutes, or until the orzo is just tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the lemon juice. Ladle a spoonful of the hot stock into the egg mixture and whisk together well. Pour this back into the barely simmering soup, whisking continuously. Cook at a gentle simmer, still whisking slowly, until the soup starts to thicken. Be sure not to let the soup boil or it will curdle. It should be a delicate pale lemon colour with a frothy, creamy consistency. If it seems too thick, thin it with the remaining stock.
  4. Add the asparagus tips and simmer the soup gently for 3 minutes, or until they are just tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings if need be. Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil as you serve.
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