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if you like asparagus

Somehow asparagus is cheap now. $1.49/lb. I bought 3 lbs today, de-stemed and boiled them in 14oz. chicken broth, pureed all in blender, added 1 pint half-and -half, S&P. Chilled asparagus soup is so easy and so delicious it's almost unfair. Tell me how to make it even better.

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  1. Not necessarily better, just different. Cut the tips off, cook them first, scoop out, cook the stems, then just puree the stems. Add the tips back. I like having a whole tip per spoonful of soup.

      1. re: greedygirl

        It's from South America, like most of our produce in the winter.

        1. re: coll

          Probably the same Peruvian stuff that greedygirl & I will see in our UK supermarkets. Personally, I can do without asparagus until our own is back in season in the spring.

          1. re: Harters

            I try to buy seasonal as much as possible, easy since I live in farm country. Most of our imports lately seem to come from Chile.

            1. re: coll

              Are (the US) growing season is the complete opposite as the growing season in Chile. While we can't buy seasonal produce during the winter months, we can still enjoy relatively fresh produce from Chile and support their economy.

            2. re: Harters

              I personally support Peruvian high value agriculture. Developing countries rarely even have an even playing field.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Oh Sam.... so you're saying that we should buy the Peruvian asparagus when it appears in our Northern markets??? I love asparagus.... but I thought we should be buying from markets closer to our homes... and in season appropriate to our home climates.

                1. re: Gio

                  Some products are light in weight and low in volume per high value. A relatively modest C footprint with benefits to developing country producers and economies; and a contribution to alternatives to cocaine - which has an incredibly high net C footprint.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Oh... OK..... um... That's a good thing. Right? Just guessing here. I'm thinking that we should be buying sparagus from Peru because then we wouldn't need to seek out the drug lords.

                    I have to think on this a bit. BRB.....

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Gee whilikers, Sam, I've based my decision to consume only local asparagus on flavor and carbon footprint. If I now have to consider cocaine production, I'm going to go crazy. How on earth can the average consumer make informed food choices in our crazy, mixed-up world? I suspect that you know more about cocaine production than the rest of us. Is it hopeless? Could asparagus save us?

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        Asparagus can't save us. An even playing field and opportunities to internationally market high value products do help countries like Peru. Such development can reduce (somewhat) dependence on drug production and trade. Unfortunately (and obviously), asparagus is not a direct alternative to coca - the former grown along the north coast and the latter grown in the Yungas and in the Amazon.

                        1. re: pikawicca

                          I'm totally with you, pikawicca. I've made a conscious decision not to buy asparagus in the winter. The air miles from Peru to the UK are hard to justify, but now I'm confused!

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            I'm sticking with the no foreign asparagus decision. If the Peruvians want to export produce here, let it be items we can't grow here. In read recently that home grown has declined from about 40% to 25% of total in the last twenty or so years. If we eat seasonally as best we can, we give business to our own farmers, reduce the carbon footprint. And enjoy the food better - I confidently challenge anyone to compare the taste of in-season British asparagus with anytime Peruvian.

              2. re: greedygirl

                Cant believe I paid $1 a pound for asparagus this week. Hope they will be as good as the ones in my garden.

              3. White pepper or chipotle.

                1. Dry sherry is a nice compliment to many cream soups.....

                  1 Reply
                  1. I Love asparagi. (Love to say that word too.) But, like Harters, I'll only buy it in season, which is Spring up here in the Northeast. Freshly picked from the farm, rushed home, steamed, served. Rarely needs any seasoning, it's so sweet. Roasted is delicious too... lightly drizzled with EVOO and seasoned with sea salt & freshly ground black Tellicherry pepper.... Heaven!
                    Other ways to enjoy asparagus:
                    wrapped in good prosciutto and grilled,
                    served with a béchamel sauce.

                    1. Wow! I wish I could get it for that price; it's $3.99 lb here, which is why it will stay in the stores until April....I make mine by sauteing shallots, celery and some carrots; add asparagus cut in pieces (discard woody ends) and simmer in veg stock. Add to blender with a little more stock, a pinch of cornstarch and S&P. Add back to saucepan and whisk in the cream. Simmer over low heat until thickened. I like to garnish with ground cumin and a few fresh baked croutons

                      1. Use a similar base, but include scallions, leeks, sherry and enrich with butter. Serve with crab and a drizzle of creme fraiche.

                        Alternatively fry minced shallots and garlic in bacon grease. Add the asparagus and broth. Puree with cream. Serve topped with crumbled bacon and steamed asparagus tips.

                        1. I don't even put the cream in mine--seems creamy enough when I blend it (& I don't need the extra calories). I do saute onions first, I use a lot of asparagus & I put in a few cloves of roasted garlic when pureeing. If I serve it hot, I also sprinkle parmesan cheese over it.

                          1. My dogs LOVE the ends you cut off and discard!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: scuzzo

                              so do mine, but then i regret giving it to them about an hour later as my eyes start watering and the temperature of the room goes up 15 degrees. YIKES!

                              1. re: raygunclan

                                Ha! I'll have to pay attention next time...

                              2. re: scuzzo

                                My cat used to steal the tips off of them when I left them on the counter. Only the tips. Since that's the only part my husband eats, I had to be careful to hide them. The first time he did it, I didn't even notice until I served them and my husband said where are the tips. We had to laugh though.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  What? That's a new one, milk or dark?

                                2. I'd make a hot version, add a touch of cayenne, and melt in some shredded gruyère.

                                  1. My version starts with 3 or 4 thinly sliced shallots carmelized in butter and olive oil (not much of either) and some salt. Then asparagus, chick broth, but no 1/2 and 1/2.

                                    1. I like to serve a green "bro-sparagus" soup that combines a puree of asparagus stems and broccoli stems.

                                      For the asparagus, I use pencil thin size, and trim and reserve the top three inches. They will be steam-sauted and become part of the presentation. Also sculpt down some broccoli florets to pencil thin diameter, to mimic the the size of the asparagus.

                                      Sauted onion or shallot base. Flavor background from small amounts of miso or soy, fish sauce, buttermilk powder, powdered romano, white pepper, cayenne pepper.

                                      Puree the broc and asp stems. Serve in wide-brimmed bowls, with some shaved parmesan to float in center, and arrange the steamed asparargus spears and trimmed broccoli around the edges of the bowl, florets pointed out, to be dipped with fingers into the soup while using spoon with the other hand..

                                      13 Replies
                                      1. re: FoodFuser

                                        HA HA...when I first read your answer, FF, I thought you meant a hearty/"manly" soup a la "bromance"...not broccoli-asparagus. "How do you handle a hungry man? The mannnnnnnnnnnnn-handler!!!" ;) But I get it now. Nice combo. Way to go green, bro...I mean, buddy.

                                        While we're talking about variations on asparagus soup, how 'bout a little lemon zest...and how 'bout topping it with some of that crab I know you love, Veggo? Crab, lemon zest and asparagus play really nicely together,

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          So Veggo... how many variations on a theme have you garnered from all the suggestions presented on this thread? Asparagus can be a great side dish to so many mains and apparently very a very good addition to our everyday diet.... To quote:
                                          Asparagus "is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Manganese and Selenium."


                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                            Hey, k-e. I think we need to have a chowdown at Veg's house. Stone crabs and asparagus. Does it get any better than that? Oh, right, a great host. Well, that clinches it.

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              Soup made by a Bro-bot!
                                              The powdered buttermilk got me. Not that it wouldn't be good (excuse me if I've been living under a rock), but I've never heard of it...
                                              BTW, the dish sounds very good and I'm sure it would give anyone an oral and optical erec.. excitement. I used to say that a lot for excitement over visual and taste treats. Nowadays I have no idea what is acceptable to write.

                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                I hadn't heard of it either until someone in another thread mentioned it. Now it's on my shopping list for tomorrow. (That is just the type of tip I love to get here at beautiful downtown Chowhound.) I imagine the powdered buttermilk would give the asparagus soup a nice little zing...much like some of the posts of late. I'm thinking it would also boost the flavor of white asparagus, my particular current favorite. One reason I so like the albino version is that is seems to lack the olfactory component of the green variety....

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  I hate to admit it, but I had white asparagus for the first time when I was in my late 40's and in Spain! What a delightful experience. Now there's purple!

                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                    I know that white is the same as green except the dirt is piled up around it depriving it of light so it can't produce chlorophyl. Purple I don't know about.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      White asparagus soaked in food coloring. Why don't they do red?

                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                        <"White asparagus soaked in food coloring.">

                                                        Food coloring you say? Surely not. The purple variety must be a hybrid, no?? I'll have to research that bit.

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          Who knew there was such thing as asparagus.com. Read on, sista! ;)

                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                            That's hysterical! EVERYTHING is on the internet, isn't it?

                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                              Hah! I knew the purple wasn't artificially colored. Thanks, KE!

                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                Mon plaisir--now I really want to try the purple!

                                            2. sometimes i steam them then serve with a mixture of mayonnaise and soy sauce as a dip. Sounds kind of weird, but tastes good to me!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: majordanby

                                                I used to mix may and Lea & Perrins....similar but more tangy. I've got to try your idea now.

                                                My other go-to sauce/dip is 3 tablespoons mayo, 2 tablespoons Dijon, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon dill weed. It's good for roasted broccoli, cold roasted veggies, and (orginally) broiled pork chops. If you use non- or low-fat mayonnaise, it's great whilst on a diet.

                                              2. Well, whaddyaknow...a word from the OP about his asparagus experimentation! I believe he is currently in an asparagus-induced trance and is unable to post. But he sends his warm regards and this update:

                                                "My triple batch of asparagus soup was indeed delicious. (3 lbs apsaragus, 14 oz chicken stock, 16 oz half and half). Intense flavor. I liked scargod's idea of adding white pepper. I ate 4 pounds of asparagus in 3 days all by myself."

                                                What is everyone else making? :)

                                                19 Replies
                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                  I'm thinking about making it sans dairy and freezing in appropriate size portions. Thanks, Veggo, for your usual good idea.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    The thought about adding ground white pepper is brilliant, especially if you're using white asparagus which is my current favorite. Thanks Scar, and thanks V. for the update. I'm not too big on adding cream to dishes, though. I'm always looking to cut calories...without cutting flavor, of course.

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      So do you use white pepper just for aesthetics? It's never really "sung" to me.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        c, take your favorite mashed potato recipe, and add lots of freshly ground white peppercorns to the mix.

                                                        We will help you to score and translate the resulting arpeggio.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          G'Mornin' CO... To me white pepper has a distinct flavor quite different from black. I use it when I think it will enhance whatever it is I'm making, such as the mash FoodFuser mentions. Using black pepper in/on a white foodstuff was never an issue for me. I can harmonize with my alto.

                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            I am always transported back to my grandparent's farm and barnyard smells directly related to hay and chicken, cow and horse poop.
                                                            I find it hard to use anything but white pepper on asparagus. I also love it with potatoes.

                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                              The Field of Greens books uses potato. It cooks prior to the asparagi(!)

                                                              Are you saying black pepper smells like barnyard poop???

                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                              Hey, Gio. Got white asparagus at Safeway just now for $1.47/#. Tomorrow I'll go in the opposite direction (about ten miles) to buy white pepper at a natural foods grocery. I just will not longer buy those little bottles and jars of spices. I'll report back.

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                C.: You may have bought white asparagus at Safeway, but it was probably grown in Peru. Although Sam says it's OK and we will diminish the need for certain esoteric export/import items if we buy such produce here in the states... I still question the whole premise.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  Not saying its OK. Rather most decisions involve trade-offs. Developing countries need the benefits of international marketing of high value agriculturall goods - and haven't been faced with a level playing field in the past. What we need the most in Peru are direct and indirect alternatives to coca (and cocaine) production, the global social and environmental costs of which are HUGE.

                                                                  Most of the asparagus I've seen growing in Peru has been green. is the white marketed as Peruvian?

                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                    Sam, yes. The white asparagus DH brought home a few weeks ago was labled "Grown in Peru." When he saw it in a local supermarket he thought it was unusual and therefore I would like it. I simply steamed it then seasoned it with sea salt & FGTellicherry pepper and added a drizzle of an excellent EVOO from Puglia. I have to say there was not much flavor to this asparagus. Certainly not the sweet earthiness of the green variety.

                                                                    I do understand the concern for developing nations and their place in global trade but I do believe in buying as close to Home as possible. Isn't it curious that some countries develop with the speed of sound while others languish.

                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                Hey, G. Bought the white pepper this morning. (I wound up with only 90 cents in my wallet and sure wasn't going to charge a small amount of pepper. My first amount was $1.50 so poured back some, got it down to $1.00 and she said "fine" :) Now I'm looking at CI, Way to Cook and Field of Greens books along with Veggo and others here. I'd likely add some sherry but don't have any. Will report back. Time for California Pizza Oven pizza for lunch.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  I'll be interested in what you think. I loathe the taste of white pepper.

                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                    I seem to remember that Sara Moulton does also. It's been years since I've knowingly eaten it.

                                                        2. re: kattyeyes

                                                          Night before last I made asparagus with onion, cream, some double-smoked (Noack’s), bacon bits and a little chipotle (with some manchego on top), in honor of our departed Veggo.

                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                            Oh, yum! He'd be proud. Maybe he'll fly up to visit us. What a food fest we would have! Though, let's save asparagus for the spring. :)

                                                            Don't forget this keeper dish! Penne with Asparagus, Sage and Peas (from April 2009 Food & Wine)--

                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                              For lunch today: Fresh asparagus with penne, cream and cream of asparagus soup, Italian hot sausage, smoked Noack's bacon (see any recurrent theme here?), all combined with manchego on top. Also avocado slices and red wine. Kinda like sex.

                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                You mean you were all sticky and tired (but happy!) when you finished?

                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                  I do tend to get "into it" and leave a really dirty napkin. The answer is "Yes".
                                                                  I love the Playboy cartoon where the girl is ravished on the table at a (obviously), fancy restaurant. Asked if it was good, she said, "Yes, but I don't think they will ever let us come back!"

                                                        3. A digression. When I was in Paris this spring, I was shopping for produce in the Belleville market, just north of the Cimetière du Père Lachaise, and I purchased asparagus. The patron, much like a circus carny, bellowed to the shopping throngs, shoulder to shoulder. Their asparagus looked good and was featured in display. The tips also looked good when viewed later at the apartment. To make a long story short I bought crap - the tips of the asparagus were rotten and I had to toss it. Lesson learned is to feel the tips and to smell. :)