Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Celebrating Spring with Asparagus

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Before blending the ingredients to make asparagus soup, trim the tops to use as a garnish. Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source

Before blending the ingredients to make asparagus soup, trim the tops to use as a garnish. (Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source | Buy This Photo)

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Other ingredients for the soup include avocado, garlic, and cashews, which should be soaked in hot water beforehand if you’re not using a high-speed blender. Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source

Other ingredients for the soup include avocado, garlic, and cashews, which should be soaked in hot water beforehand if you’re not using a high-speed blender. (Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source | Buy This Photo)

Some meteorologists say we’ll continue to have bouts of winter-like weather for the rest of this month, and maybe even into April, which will surprise no one who has lived in Connecticut for any period of time.

But this year, more than ever, we need a little spring right this very moment and so I was happy to see in several local markets the arrival of asparagus a few weeks ago. Since spring is already officially here, I think we’re safe to start thinking beyond hearty stews and winter squash casseroles.

My first batch of asparagus went into a soup that included about two cups of water; about 12 ounces of asparagus, the bottoms trimmed, with olive oil, salt, and pepper charred under the broiler; about six cloves of garlic roughly chopped and sprinkled over the asparagus for the last 30 seconds to about a minute under the broiler; a quarter cup of cashews; and one avocado.

After the asparagus came out of the broiler and cooled a bit, I cut off the tops to save as a garnish. Then all of the rest of the ingredients went into my VitaMix blender for several minutes until it was hot. I finished it with the juice and zest of one lemon, some Aleppo-style pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.

If you don’t have a VitaMix, you could use a high speed blender or a handheld blender, but I would recommend first soaking the cashews for about a half hour in boiling water, or overnight in water. Then, after it’s all blended, warm up the soup on the stovetop.

Asparagus should be readily available in markets through June, and we should start seeing some locally grown available in May. So that gives us lots of time to experiment. Here’s a great collection of asparagus recipes from Bon Appétit: www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/asparagus-recipes, including one for an asparagus frittata, which is reprinted here. It would go really well with the soup.

Asparagus Fritatta

Adapted from a recipe from Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/asparagus-frittata

Makes four servings

 

Ingredients

10 to 12 large eggs

1 cup (packed) basil leaves, thinly sliced

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups thinly sliced asparagus

(from about 1 bunch)

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until frothy; mix in basil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and cook, tossing occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add egg mixture, stirring to combine.

Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until egg mixture is set around edges, about 4 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and cook frittata until top is puffed and completely set, 10–15 minutes.

Run a heatproof spatula around the edge of the pan to release frittata. Slide frittata onto a warmed plate and cut into wedges.


Pem McNerney for Zip06. Email Pem at p.mcnerney@shorepublishing.com.

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