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The Asparagus Table – La Vignarola – Italian Spring Soup, Wholemeal Asparagus Tart and Egg Asparagus Soldiers

Some of the simplest things in life are best, how often have you heard that remark?  The long awaited asparagus season is here in New Zealand and keeping it simple with asparagus certainly highlights the veg at it’s best. My favourite way to eat asparagus is just lightly steamed served with eggs ‘anyway’ and lashings of butter,  try a fun quirky way of serving the spears with your soft boiled egg using them as ‘dunking soldiers’. As I was eating the asparagus and boiled eggs my mind had already wandered onto truffle oil drizzled into the shell…watch out shopping bill, truffle oil may well be in the next basket.

The Italian spring soup La Vignarola is perfect for show casing not only asparagus but also lovely spring vegetables of podded peas and broad beans. If you can’t find them freshly podded and don’t have them sprouting away in your garden, snap frozen are pretty convenient and taste great too. A simple tart of asparagus with sour cream and mustard is easy for anyone to whip up, I made a wholemeal pastry but you can always buy pre bought if you are short on time or don’t have ‘pastry fingers’.

La Vignarola – Spring Soup


4 spring onions, sliced

2 bunches asparagus

200g frozen peas, defrosted

200g broad beans, podded (you can use frozen)

200g jar marinated artichoke hearts

3 cloves garlic

2 cups vegetable stock

Large handful each of parsley & mint, finely chopped

Zest and juice 1 small lemon

100g shaved Pecorino to serve

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper


Cut the woody ends off the asparagus spears and discard, then cut spears into three.

Place a little olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.

Add the spring onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the asparagus, podded broad beans and stock to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the peas, artichokes juice and zest of the lemon to the saucepan and season with salt & pepper.

You can add some of the artichoke marinade to the soup also if you wish, tasting as you do.

Add the parsley and mint.

Bring the soup to the boil then remove from the heat and serve immediately, you want the veg to be crisp and green.

Serve the soup with shaved pecorino and crust bread

Asparagus Tart – serves 6

Ingredients – pastry
110g butter

180g wholemeal flour
1 egg

2 Tbsp iced water

pinch of salt

Method – Pastry

Place flour, butter and salt in the bowl and whiz until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and water and knead together briefly to form a dough.

Rest the pastry in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Roll pastry out to fit tart tin and press into place, trim edges off pastry.

Ingredients – Tart Filling

1 bunch spring asparagus

250g sour cream

2 large free range eggs

2 heaped tsp whole grain mustard

salt & pepper to season

ground black pepper

Method – Tart Filling

Pre-heat oven at 180C & grease & flour a 20cm loose bottom tart tin.

Remove the woody ends from the asparagus and cut spear in half.

Whisk together the sour cream, eggs and mustard and season with a little salt & pepper.

Pour mixture into the pastry base.

Lay the asparagus half spears on top of the mixture in pastry case, alternating tip and base as in picture.

Grind some black pepper over the top of asparagus.

Bake in oven on a lower shelf (to crisp pastry base) for 35-40 minutes until tart is set and golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing tart from mould.
Serve warm of chilled

35 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jueseppi B. #

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    Asparagus happens to be my number 2 fave vegetable. This sounds YummY. Thank you Pease Pudding.

    October 19, 2012
  2. mairi29 #

    I love asparagus any which way 🙂 Gorgeous tart, but that soup is the one that is likely to make an appearance this weekend 🙂

    October 19, 2012
  3. You’ve been busy again! All look delicious, especially the tart.

    October 19, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      Busy cooking…busy eating and time to do more :o)

      October 20, 2012
  4. I wait for your posts! The recipes are always so refreshingly different. It encourages me to try things you cook with. And your pictures are another inspiration. So beautiful and clear and artistic. I’m trying to learn from your photographs.

    October 19, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      Thanks Deb, you’re too kind and your recipes always make me hungry they are full of wonderful flavours

      October 20, 2012
  5. Yum, going to make the tart this week. Just a questions how many eggs in the custard? I can’t see them in the tart filling ingredients. Thanks so much.

    October 19, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      Apologies Nicola, 2 large eggs

      October 20, 2012
  6. I love all those asparagus lined up like little soldiers in the tart.

    October 20, 2012
  7. Love the asparagus tart! Such a great idea

    October 20, 2012
  8. All delicious! I thought of truffle oil as soon as I saw the title 😉

    October 20, 2012
  9. Great ways of using asparagus. Everything looks mouthwatering.



    October 20, 2012
  10. Yummy asparagus, every single way, we have been eating tons of them (especially with eggs), if it wasn’t for the rain I would feel like Spring 🙂

    October 21, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      It’s been an awfully wet and cold weekend hasn’t it? I hope it doesn’t shorten our asparagus season

      October 21, 2012
  11. Beautiful photos and recipes.

    October 21, 2012
  12. I love asparagus! Here in Southern Oregon asparagus grows wild in the pear orchards in the spring. Asparagus is so versatile and delicious. Great photos!

    October 21, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      Wow that would be amazing, pear and asparagus picking at the same time.

      October 21, 2012
  13. I love your first shot of the asparagus, really nice

    October 22, 2012
  14. We seem to be having a second spring here at the moment, the weather is glorious and I am really fancying that beautifully light and deliciously green soup right now. Shame all I see is pumpkin everywhere! Oh well I’m sure I saw a gypsy man selling that fine & wiry wild asparagus at the side of the road a few days ago… the same guy that is roasting chestnuts in metal bins every evening when it gets dark. Wild Asparagus & Chestnut Soup???? 😀

    October 22, 2012
  15. Happy cook #

    That tart looks gorgeous. I love asparagus tart. Your soup looks scrumptious too. I am quite jealous that you are entering asparagus season now, as we rush towards Winter. Having said that, however, I do love roasted squash and root veg, plus the apples and pears are so good now, despite the death of the apple tree that our neighbour lets us ‘use’, due to the weird weather we have been having all year here in the UK, I think. Such a shame as I have been collecting ideas for them all year! I will just have to pay for some! 🙂 We had a bottle of truffle oil from some good friends, and it is fantastic. You only need a teeny tiny but though, as the flavour is so strong, so it could go on for years (if it doesn’t go off!) – a worthwhile investment, perhaps?!

    October 23, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      That’ a shame about the apple tree, maybe you will end up with NZ apples! You are right Lucy about only needing a little truffle oil, it may be expensive but it is worth it and goes a long way. I did buy my bottle ;o)

      October 24, 2012
  16. Mmmm, I was chuckling over the “asparagus” soldiers, then I saw the delicious looking soup but….yum, over the asparagus tart! Beautiful photos…

    October 23, 2012
  17. i love the idea of making an asparagus tart (and eating it, of course) but i’m afraid my number one way of enjoying them is very similar to yours – lightly steamed, lots of butter and a good grinding of black pepper and pinch of sea salt flakes. asparagus are really best enjoyed as they are.

    October 23, 2012
  18. Ali, your asparagus tart is perfection! I love it steamed as a snack-I can eat so many at one go, it’s embarrassing lol.

    October 24, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      No embarrassing at all, I eat so much of it i ask hubby only last night if he was sick of asparagus yet?

      October 24, 2012
  19. Lovely spring soup. The greeny and lemony flavor mixed with pecorino must be great for perfect spring meal.

    October 24, 2012
  20. …I forgot to say that it was a beautiful way of showing the egg 😉

    October 24, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      I was so tempted to put some eyes on the egg as the napkin makes it look like a scarf around a neck

      October 24, 2012
  21. Great shots Ali. That pastry sounds excellent night have to give it a go

    November 28, 2012
  22. found this fantastic recipe on pinterest. The Tart is so yummy! Thanks! You made me happy 😉

    April 24, 2013
    • peasepudding #

      Thanks you, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      April 29, 2013
      • I’m still in love: look

        May 7, 2013

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