I grew up in an agrarian area with a mother who appreciated the seasons and food that came with them. We lived next to a highly farmed area. I remember fields stretching as far as the eye could see. Hadley produced mostly tobacco, but also lots of asparagus, and of course butternut squash and apples in their season. Every spring, about this time, my mother would go looking for wild asparagus, since she had noted where the fronds were the previous summer. I think I am a little spoiled, because I have tasted asparagus when it was harvested the same day, and there is nothing like it. We can get asparagus any time of the year now. I love it just blanched, with some butter and salt and pepper. Below is my favorite recipe for soup, which celebrates the intense flavor of the asparagus itself.
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
- 3 lbs. asparagus fresh, rinsed
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 1 cup shallot(s) chopped
- 1 cup leek(s) chopped, white and light green parts
- 1 tbsp. garlic minced
- 1/2 cup half and half
- Trim the tips from the asparagus.
- Cut the woody stems ends from each spear and reserve.
- Cut the remaining stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. In a medium pot, bring the stock to a boil.
- Add the woody stems and lower heat to simmer, cook 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and discard, reserving the stock.
- Add the tips to stock and blanch until tender about 1 minute.
- Remove with a strainer, and plunge directly into an ice water bath.
- Drain on paper towels and reserve for garnish.
- Reserve the stock.
- In a medium stock pot, melt the butter over medium high heat.
- When foamy, add the shallots and leeks, and cook until just tender.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, then add the chopped asparagus stalks and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes.
- Add the reserve broth and simmer until the asparagus are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat. With an immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor, puree until smooth, adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Return to medium heat and add the half and half and reserved asparagus tips.
- Cook, stirring, until warmed through, about 3 minutes.