500g asparagus, trimmed (or wild asparagus or hop shoots, if possible)
100g stale white rustic bread, diced
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
3 tbsp sherry vinegar or wine vinegar
1 cucumber, peeled and deseeded
2 garlic cloves
1. Bring 1 litre water to the boil and add 1 teaspoon salt. Meanwhile, cut the asparagus in half, separating the stalks and spears. Cook the spears for 11/2-2 minutes, until just tender. Lift out with a slotted spoon, drain and refresh under cold water. Set aside.
2. Bring the water to a simmer and cook the stalks gently for 10 minutes, until very tender. Remove from the heat and cool in the cooking liquid.
3. Pop the bread into a bowl with the oil and vinegar. Add half the cooking liquid and let the bread soak it up for 5 minutes. Dice the cucumber and garlic and add to the bowl.
4. Put the rest of the cooking liquid and stalks in a blender and blitz to a soup. Strain, discarding the pulp.
5. Add the soaked bread, cucumber and garlic to a blender and whizz until smooth. Whizz in soup until you reach the consistency you want. Season and chill.
6. Divide between bowls, drizzle with a little oil and serve with the spears.
- A very light, simple white is safest; or try chilled dry fino sherry.