Saturday, June 12, 2010

Asparagus Season

[Note: I accidentally published this early, so if it showed up in your feed reader already, my apologies. This version actually has the soup recipe.]

In case you didn't know, it's asparagus season! The farmers at the Lansing City Market and Allen Street Farmers Market have fresh-picked, gorgeous stalks for $2 a pound, and we're going through at least 3 pounds a week. Asparagus is kind of a funny thing; I don't love steamed asparagus or cold asparagus, but I can't get enough roasted asparagus, and the soup recipe I got from the farmers market reminds me a little of Spargelsuppe from Germany.

Roasted Asparagus is super easy, and it is like freaking CANDY. If I make less than a pound at a time Chris and I start fighting over it. Here's how to do it: wash the asparagus and trim the ends if they're tough. Cover a baking tray in foil for easy cleanup and place the spears in a single layer on it. Drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and stick it in the oven at 400F for at least 15 minutes. In my opinion, the longer you leave it in, the better it gets - I forgot about a tray for an hour and it was great. Eat with your hands!
Note: I like to roast veggies in my toaster oven - it heats up faster, presumably uses less electricity, and is a good size for a couple of bell peppers or a small bunch of asparagus. Mine came with its own little baking tray.

Vegan Asparagus Soup

Based on the Vegan with a Vengeance recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pound asparagus, rough ends discarded, cut into 1-2" pieces (cut the thicker pieces shorter)
  • olive oil for sauteeing
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  1. Place potatoes and bay leaves in a stockpot and cover with broth. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. While that's simmering, in a small pan, sauté the onion in the olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes; add the garlic, salt and black pepper and sauté 2 more minutes.
  3. Find and remove the bay leaves from the stock pot. Add the asparagus and the onion mixture and boil for 3 minutes.
  4. Use a hand blender, blender, or food processor to puree the soup to your desired consistency (mine was pretty smooth).
    Reheat if necessary. Add lemon juice and serve garnished with fresh dill.

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