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Summer flagolet, lettuce and asparagus soup

Granted, making a something called 'summer soup' while the temperature is breaking 2oC is a triumph of hope over experience, but all the summer veg is out and proud and deserves eating. Asparagus remains an inexpensive joy and flagolet beans still speak summer to me, albeit the sort of summer that the pedants among you would point out I could get all year round thanks to the joys of canning. Spoilsports.

This soup is open to adaptation, I think - I didn't have any mint in the house but I reckon a small handful of leaves would have gone down a treat. It can probably also do without the lettuce, but is there anything more summery than a little gem? It could probably also do with a bit more in the way of wine in the wine-to-stock ratio, but that would involve diverting it from going down your gullet, so I'll leave that one to your discretion.

Summer flagolet, lettuce and asparagus soup


One white onion, chopped finely
One teaspoon of fennel seeds
Two cloves garlic, finely chopped
Two celery ribs, finely chopped
150mls stock
100mls white wine
One can of flagolet beans, drained
Bay leaf
One bunch of asparagus, cut into four widthwise
Zest of half lime, finely grated
One small gem lettuce, sliced into thin rounds
Juice of half lime
Chopped parsley
Chopped dill

How you do it

Heat some oil in a saucepan and then add the onion, garlic, fennel seeds, celery. Sweat over a medium heat, covered, until lightly caramelised.

Add the stock, white wine, bay leaf and flagolet beans and bring to a simmer. Cook for five minutes or so.

Add the chopped asparagus and lime zest, and cook for two or three minutes.

Add the chopped gem lettuce and cook for another couple of minutes until the asparagus is cooked through and the lettuce is wilted.

Stir in the lime juice, a large handful of parsley and a couple of very large handfuls of dill (I used about half a packet of the former and a 25g packet of the latter).

Remove bay leaf, add salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Taste, add more lime juice if necessary.

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