- White asparagus needs to be peeled. It's a little fussy like that.
- Once it's been peeled it likes a hot bath. Put it in boiling, salted water for ten minutes or so. If you can bite into it easily, it's cooked. If you can't, put it back in the water (don't do this step in front of your guests).
- Drain the asparagus, saving ther water. Cut the best looking tips off and save for the garnish.
- Blend the rest of the asparagus with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and a little bit of the water.
- In a bowl, stand up your winning tips, entwine with some sort of cured ham (I used some smoked stuff which was marvellous), shave over a little parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.
- You may need to reheat the soup at this point. If so, reheat it.
- Now pour it into the bowl and, in the words of José Andrés, whose recipe inspired this post, let the soup find its own space.
Tip: To peel the asparagus, hold the tip, and use your peeler in downward strokes, while turning the asparagus slowly. To remove the woody base, snap it - it will miraculously snap at the right point. You can take a bite, it's crunchy and sweet!