Discover a star starter for dinner.

By Beau Cook – Photography by Leon Schoots

Is there a lovelier spice than star anise? We don’t think so, and so it’s a pleasure to bring you this warm and delicate dish using this gorgeous spice as the perfect way to start your next dinner party, or simply impress your loved ones mid-week, why not?
Asparagus is one of the gifts of spring. This beautiful vegetable is loaded with nutrients, being a great source of fibre, folate and vitamins A, C, E and K. Best of all, it’s delish.

Creamy Asparagus & Star Anise Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 bunches of asparagus (green or white)
  • 3 large shallots
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 tbl. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt flakes
  • 500ml chicken stock200ml pure cream

To serve:

  • 1 baguette, sliced on an angle
  • 80g Persian fetta
  • Lemon infused extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Trim woody base of asparagus and discard, cut spears into 1cm long pieces then peel and finely chop shallots.
  2. Heat a medium sized saucepan oven a low/medium heat, add 2 tbl. olive oil then sauté asparagus, shallots and star anise for 3min or until shallots have softened.
  3. Add chicken stock and salt, let simmer on a medium heat for 5min or until asparagus is tender, be careful not to over cook it.
  4. Take soup off the heat and let cool for 5min. Place soup into a stick or jug blender along with the cream, blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt if needed. Return pureed soup to pot and keep warm over a low heat until ready to serve.
  5. Serve soup with some crumbled fetta over the top, a drizzle of lemon infused olive oil, cracked pepper and some toasted baguette.