Alyce’s Asparagus Soup a la Silver Palate

Every Friday for the foreseeable future, I’ll be blogging one of the 38 healthiest ingredients from POWER FOODS : 150 DELICIOUS RECIPES WITH THE 38 HEALTHIEST INGREDIENTS by the editors of Whole Living Magazine. 

38 Power Foods is a group effort!   Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available: 

Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
Jill – SaucyCooks 

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
.
As we go along, I’m guessing we’ll get some other writers involved.  If you’re interested in joining the gang writing each week, get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits:  Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
             ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 

Read me regularly and you know asparagus is just about my favorite vegetable.  Maybe zucchini is first; I don’t know.  But I cook asparagus at the drop of a hat.  In lots of ways.  Here’s one of my favorite recipes, worth buying some gorgeous tiny bowls for (think antique store) so you can make this as a first-course.  I first made Asparagus Soup as a starter for the lunch celebrating my daughter’s baptism, and have been making it ever since.

alyce’s asparagus soup a la silver palate
   4 main course servings         6-8 first course servings

  • 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped coarsely
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2T butter or olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 6T fresh tarragon (or 2t dry), divided
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2# asparagus, trimmed well and chopped
  • 1 1/2-2 quarts chicken broth, unsalted*
  •  3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
  • 4-6 drops hot sauce (I like Tabasco.)
  • 1/4 c low-fat sour cream*
  • Lemon rind
In  6qt stockpot, heat butter or oil over medium-low and add chopped onions and shallot. Saute about 10 minutes until softened; add garlic.  Cook another 5 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.  Add salt, pepper, tarragon, parsley, and asparagus.  Let flavors marry by cooking a minute or two, stirring and smelling as you go.  Oh, tarragon.
Pour in 1 1/2 qts chicken stock and add the carrots and celery.  Add the Tabasco carefully.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer 40 minutes or so until all the vegetables are very tender indeed.  As it cooks, add more broth if it seems too thick.   Taste and adjust seasonings. 
 Carefully puree in batches in blender (hold down top with a big towel) or in the food processor.   You can use an immersion blender if you have one, of course.
Pour back into pan and serve hot or let cool and chill to serve cold.  Top with a spoonful of sour cream, a sprinkle of tarragon, and a grate or two of fresh lemon rind.
*For a vegan version, use vegetable broth and leave out sour cream
If you live in St. Paul, my tarragon is right off my back porch in a whiskey barrel; you’re welcome to pick some.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
about asparagus   
                                                                                                             A. Morgan
  Asparagus is the leading supplier among vegetables of folic acid. A 5.3 ounce serving provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance for folacin which is necessary for blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver disease. Folacin has been shown to play a significant role in the prevention of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, that cause paralysis and death in 2,500 babies each year.

Its wealth of nutrients, fiber and very low sodium and calorie content make asparagus a nutritionally wise choice for today’s health-conscious consumer.

Asparagus is:

  • Low in calories, only 20 per 5.3 oz. serving, less than 4 calories per spear.
  • Contains no fat or cholesterol.
  • Very low in sodium.
  • A good source of potassium.(1)
  • A source of fiber (3 grams per 5.3 oz. serving). (2)
  • An excellent source of folacin. (3)
  • A significant source of thiamin. (4)
  • A significant source of vitamin B6. (4)
  • One of the richest sources of rutin, a compound which strengthens capillary walls.
  • Contains glutathione (GSH). (5)  
  • nutrition info:  courtesy asparagus.org
other new projects – phew!
Here’s my fast Clam Chowder.  Should it go in the new book???
I’m SO excited:  I’m just starting to write a small cookbook called 30 Soups in 30 Minutes, and would enjoy some ideas you might have about what soups you’d like to know how to make quickly–or which soups from either blog you particularly like.   There’ll also be some simple accompaniments for the soups, wine pairings, and a few tiny (read instant) desserts.  It looks like I’ll be publishing through amazon on Create Space and then on to  Kindle.  Thoughts?  Anyone done this before?  I have July and August to work hard on it; I’m not directing a choir and only have some lessons and a seminar to teach.  If you’d like to test any soup recipes, let me know; I need testers.  The first recipe, Broccoli Soup with Toasted Brie, is ready for testing.   Someone once wanted to do wine pairings for this book.  Still up for it?!   I’m so grateful to each of you for your support over the last three years (or more) and can’t wait to show you the book!  Now that I’ve put it out on the blog, I’m gonna have to come through, eh?  Sounding real.
Sing a new song; cook a new soup,
Alyce