Asparagus

14 April 2022

Springtime heralds one of the tastiest vegetables…asparagus.

Originally classified with onions and garlic, people who do these things have re-classified it as itself. It is high in water content, over 90%, so there is little food energy but it makes up for it in fiber, vitamins (B, C, E, K) and minerals (beta-carotene, iron, niacin, thiamin).

When shopping look for spears with closed tips with smooth, round bases. White asparagus is formed when the spears are covered with soil so they don’t receive any sunlight to stop photosynthesis.

Hold the spear at the base and just below the tips and bend it until it breaks. Discard the bottom because it will be too woody to enjoy. Wash it and remove any sand. You can also cut the base into about one inch segments to add to other dishes.

Cook them in salted water in a deep but narrow pot but it won’t take long for them to be done. You can also throw them on the grill or microwave them in a glass or approved dish.

Often served as an appetizer, with Hollandaise, or just melted butter. You can enhance your dish by adding chopped cashews, or breadcrumbs.

Fresh Asparagus Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions:

  • Place asparagus and onion in a saucepan with 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until the vegetables are tender.
  • Reserve a few asparagus tips for garnish. Place remaining vegetable mixture in an electric blender and puree until smooth.
  • Melt butter in the pan that was used for simmering the asparagus and onions. Stir while sprinkling flour, salt, and pepper into the butter. Do not let the flour brown. Allow the mixture to cook only 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth and increase the heat. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Stir the vegetable puree and milk into the saucepan. Whisk yogurt into the mixture, followed by lemon juice. Stir until heated through, then ladle into bowls. Garnish with reserved asparagus tips. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Asparagus with Wine Sauce

If you are alcohol free, substitute 2 tablespoons of apple juice and increase the lemon juice to 2 tablespoons.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds fresh asparagus
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 hard cooked eggs, chopped

Directions:

  • Blanch asparagus.
  • In a saucepan place onion and wine. Stir in mayonanaise and lemon juice. Heat to just boiling.
  • Gently add chopped eggs
  • Serve over asparagus

Asparagus Au Gratin

The sauce is also good over fresh green beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, or carrots.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 1 can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
  • ½ cup crumb topping

Crumb topping:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup crushed cereal (toasted oats, corn puffs or whole wheat flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram; combination of ¼ teaspoon dried oregano and 1/8 teaspoon dried basil; or combination of ¼ teaspoon dried sage and 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard, optional

Directions:

  • Blanch asparagus
  • Combine all ingredients for crumb topping
  • Combine soup, mustard and Worchestershire sauce.
  • Add asparagus.
  • Place everything into an ungreased 1 quart casserole. Top with crumb topping. Bake at 325 until hot, about 15 or 20 minutes.

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