In my new section “Eat Your Veggies,” I’ll be exploring recipes in my favorite food group (save for those years of childhood ignorance).  Spring is on the horizon and I’m already itching for all of the wonderful produce it brings.  Last night I made a quick (about 35 min total) and hearty Asparagus soup.  Served with a little homemade Ciabatta bread (the second go around was much  more successful, thanks for asking), this soup was a bowl of comfort on a rainy springy day.  This recipe was from Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook  At Home, which I’m completely loving.

2lb asparagus, woody ends removed
olive oil
2 medium white onions, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and copped
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
2 quarts good-quality chicken or vegetable stock, preferably organic
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 small very fresh free-range or organic eggs
8 slices of ciabatta bread
a knob of butter
extra virgin olive oil

“Chop the tips off your asparagus and put these to one side for later. Roughly chop the asparagus stalks. Get a large, deep pan on the heat and add a good lug of olive oil. Gently fry the onions, celery and leeks for around 10 minutes, until soft and sweet, without coloring. Add the chopped asparagus stalks and stock and simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on. Remove from the heat and blitz with a hand-held blender or in a liquidizer. Season the soup bit by bit (this is important) with salt and pepper until just right. Put the soup back on the heat, stir in the asparagus tips, bring back to the boil and simmer for a few more minutes until the tips have softened.

Just before I’m ready to serve the soup, I get a wide casserole-type pan on the heat with 8 to 10cm of boiling water. Using really fresh eggs, I very quickly crack all 10 into the water. Don’t worry about poaching so many at the same time. They don’t have to look perfect. A couple of minutes and they’ll be done, as you want them to be a bit runny. Toast your ciabatta slices. Using a slotted spoon, remove all the poached eggs to a plate and add a knob of butter to them. To serve, divide the soup between eight warmed bowls and place a piece of toast into each. Put a poached egg on top, cut into it to make it runny, season and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.”

**So here’s what I did differently:  I added a fresh chopped red chili, a splash of white wine and a little garlic.  It just punched it up a bit.  I hope you enjoy and eat your veggies.