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I also blanch the vegetables by boiling them briefly for a minute or two, and then dunk the spears into ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Then I marinate the blanched spears in herbal vinaigrette for a couple hours for an easy side dish.
In this post, I’m focusing on a Spring Asparagus Soup that is fast and easy to make.
Growing Asparagus: I’ve never grown asparagus before in my garden, but the edible perennial can be found in gardens almost everywhere but the hottest parts of the United States (Zones 8b or higher). This cool-season vegetable needs a bit of dormancy in winter.
By the way, I photographed these asparagus plants at the 2014 Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle. The pretty demonstration garden had everything planted close together, because of space constraints. In your own garden, grow your asparagus in a dedicated bed, where the vegetables aren’t crowded with other plants.
You’ll need to be patient if you grow asparagus. When planted from seed, you should wait three years before the first harvest. You can save time by planting one-year crowns, which are leafless bare roots. Typically, ten crowns per person is a good estimate for planting.
As this vegetable will grow in this spot for many years, invest the time to add lots of organic matter like worm castings, well-aged manure or compost into the soil. Some asparagus beds have lasted 20 to 30 years. That makes the extra work in the beginning worth it!
Spring Asparagus Soup
This Spring Asparagus Soup relies on yogurt, lemon and almond milk for its nutritious creamy texture. Thyme fresh from the garden adds a delicious touch, and the shredded Parmesan cheese will have your family asking for more.
I found my recipe at Allrecipes.com, but I added thyme and used almond milk instead of soy milk. I also changed a few of the directions, and I reduced the salt amount by half. As always, feel free to experiment with this recipe until you make it your own.
1 pound of fresh asparagus, chopped in one inch pieces
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Large pinch of fresh ground pepper
1 heaping tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1) Cook asparagus and onion in a saucepan with 1 cup of vegetable broth. When it begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer vegetables covered until the asparagus is tender. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
2) Put aside a few asparagus tips for garnish. Allow remaining vegetables to cool slightly before blending them with an immersion blender or in an ordinary blender. Use caution when handling hot liquids.
3) Melt butter in the same pan you cooked asparagus. While stirring, sprinkle in flour, salt and pepper to the butter. Keep stirring, and don’t let the butter brown. Only cook a minute or two, and then add remaining vegetable broth. Stir well.
4) Raise the heat until it starts to boil, stirring frequently.
5) Then reduce heat and add the vegetable puree, almond milk and thyme. Spoon the yogurt into the mixture, followed by the lemon juice. When heated through, serve immediately with asparagus tips and freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese.
This recipe feeds four adults. However, the recipe can be easily doubled, so you can have leftovers. If it lasts that long ... ours never does.