Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring 2009 is HERE!!!

Well, living in the great Midwest, there are a few months where not much is happening on the fresh food front - a prime reason why our grandparents and great-grandparents canned, stored items in root cellars, and dried their fresh spring/summer/fall bounty. Things that I have not yet begun to conquer myself, but hope to start putting a dent in that list this summer if I can make the time. ANYWAY, it is spring now, and the garden pick-up will start this week!! And for the lucky few who signed up early enough, we have been LOVING the spring greens early share that farmer Kris grows for us! Delicious.

But at the end of last week, my husband brought home five pounds of asparagus from work! FIVE POUNDS. What did he pay for this bounty? $10.00! What a steal! So, what do I do with five pounds of this deliciously tasty special spring veggie? I made soup of course! And it was delicious if I do say so myself. Bob had two giant bowls of it, which is a big thumbs up from him. I couldn't locate a recipe that I thought looked like it would justify the deliciousness of asparagus, so I made up my own, and here it is.

Asparagus Soup
Asparagus (yes, we had 5#, but it made quite a bit, you could do this recipe with 2#)
1-2 medium size white onions, chopped (I used two vidalias)
1/2 stick butter
salt to taste
fresh lemon juice to taste (I probably used about 2 TBSPs)

1. Wash and trim (break woody ends off) the asparagus. Break off the heads, and reserve them in a bowl. Break the rest of the asparagus stems into 2-3 inch chunks.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan, and saute the onions until very soft over medium heat. Do not let the onions brown or get burnt, just turn clear and soft.
3. In a large stock pot, pour enough water in to completely cover the asparagus, but do not leave the asparagus in the pot just now, you want to boil the water first, and then add the asparagus. So cover the pot, and heat water to boiling. Add a generous amount of salt to the water, add the asparagus (except for the heads), and then add a bit more salt on top of that. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Remove asparagus from water (DO NOT DISCARD THE WATER YET), and place in a blender or food processor. Using a liquid measuring cup, pour some of the stock water into the blender, so the water line reaches half as high as the asparagus level. Meanwhile, add the asparagus tips to the boiling water, and let simmer for 5 minutes only.
5. Add the onions and the butter they were sauted in to the asparagus and stock water in the blender. Blend, letting the soup rest every couple of seconds so that it blends thoroughly. (I had to do this in two batches). Pour out into a serving bowl, and taste for salt - add some if neccessary, stir well, and taste again. Add lemon juice to taste. Remove asparagus tips from stock water and use them to garnish the soup.

Originally I planned to add a dollop of sour cream to each bowl to enhance creaminess, but I didn't even use it - the soup was so creamy all on its own it needed no help in that department. It would have probably tasted good with some fresh parmesan cheese on top, and would look even prettier with a couple strips of lemon zest on top of that - but I wasn't interested in pretty tonight! Actually, I am already wishing we had some more asparagus so I could freeze the leftovers. Asparagus comes but once a year after all!