A sure sign of spring

May 13, 2011
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian

Spring has officially arrived - asparagus has made its first appearance at the Lynchburg Farmer’s Market! However, you need to get there extra early on Saturday morning or there will be no asparagus for you. We learned that the hard way this weekend!

Nothing beats fresh local asparagus, especially when the grocery store only carries it from California (if you’re lucky), Peru or Mexico. Currently, I am in full asparagus overload with the “after-effects” to boot. Scientifically speaking, that distinctive smell after eating asparagus is caused by the breakdown of certain asparagus chemicals to various sulfur -containing degradation byproducts, including thiolsthioesters, and ammonia. So, do not be alarmed the next time you eat asparagus!

Since asparagus has such a short growing season (about 4 weeks from late April to mid May) I believe you can never eat too much. Asparagus with eggs for breakfast, roasted asparagus with balsamic drizzled over it for lunch, grilled asparagus at dinner.

I posted this recipe on a previous blog and today I was the lucky recipient of a fresh batch. Asparagus seems to go especially well with grilled scallops, my dinner tonight.

Springtime Asparagus Soup (adapted from Deborah Madison)
Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus
  • 1 large leek, white parts plus an inch of the green, chopped
  • 6 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  1. Slice the asparagus into 3 parts, ends, middles & tips. Chop the middles and set the tips aside. Use the asparagus ends, leeks roots & greens in the stock (if making your own stock).
  2. Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the leek, onion, and sauté over medium heat for about 8 minutes, until the onion is lightly colored. Add 1 cup stock and stew for 10 to 12 minutes. Add the chopped asparagus & remaining stock and simmer, partially covered for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool briefly, then puree & pass through a food mill to get rid of any fibers (I just use a mesh strainer or you can skip this step). Taste the soup for salt; add a few drops of lemon juice to bring up the flavors and season with pepper. Return to the pot to keep warm.

  3. Meanwhile, drop the asparagus tips into boiling salted water and cool until tender, about 2-4 minutes, then add to the finished soup.  

Photo courtesy: sushi♥ina on Flickr


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