Grilled, steamed, roasted, sautéed or pickled, asparagus is a delicious springtime vegetable with May’s being the height of the ‘spárga’ season. Although we look upon asparagus as something of a seasonal oddity, its rich woody flavor is something to be savored when the time is right.
High in vitamin A and C and packed with iron and calcium, asparagus is a great accompaniment to summer meals. When choosing good asparagus make sure the stalks are firm and tips crisp, rather than limp, to ensure you are getting the nicest, freshest product.
The bottom ends of larger spears of asparagus can often be tough and although edible, not making for an enjoyable meal. As long as your stalks are fresh, a quick snap with your hands will remove the fibrous, woody end. Of course sometime here in Budapest we can still find our ‘spárga’ to be stringy; going to work with a vegetable peeler before cooking can take care of those chewy strands.
Below is a simple recipe for hot, or cold, asparagus soup. Feel free to add your own touches such a squeeze of lemon in cold soup, a dollop of sour cream, or even cooking in chunks of potato to add a little more to your meal.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 400g asparagus, cleaned and finely chopped
- 500ml chicken stock (vegetarians may substitute vegetable stock)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp heavy cream
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for four minutes, until softened.
Add the asparagus and cook for another two minutes.
Add the stock and bring to the boil. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and reduce the heat to simmer for 5-7 minutes, until the asparagus is cooked through.
Add the cream and blend with a hand blender until smooth.
Serve hot or cold
Did you know?
- Asparagus comes in three colours: green, white, and purple, the purple will turn green during cooking.
- Asparagus has been grown around the world for over 3000 years.
- With the right conditions it can grow 2.5 cm per hour!
- One of the richest sources of rutin which strengthens small blood vessels and glutathione (GSH), a powerful antioxidant.
- In truth, the majority of people can’t smell “asparagus pee“– the odor asparagus consumption causes urine to have. It actually takes a specific gene to allow someone to detect the smell, and only 25% of people have that gene. Lucky them 😉
- Asparagus contains bone-building vitamin K along with many antioxidants, including vitamins E, A and C.