Use up this harbinger of spring before it's gone
By Lee Svitak Dean
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) As each new season of produce starts, cooks prefer simplicity: the fresh stalk of asparagus, the cluster of strawberries, the ear of corn or handful of blueberries. What could be better than the true essence of freshness? Cooks don't need to do much to enhance what is already perfect.
Note: Many asparagus soup recipes call for cream. I left it out because it seemed like a lot of unnecessary calories, but add some if that's your preference. Make the soup the day it will be used, or the green color gets quite dark. Use a nonreactive pan (not aluminum) for the soup preparation. It should have a stainless or ceramic interior.
In a soup pot, saute onion in butter until translucent; do not brown.
Break off woody ends of asparagus and discard. Cut off tips of asparagus and reserve. Cut remaining asparagus in 2-inch pieces. Add asparagus, potatoes, parsley, stock and lemon juice to the pot with onion. Simmer until vegetables are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Let broth cool slightly. Puree the soup in either a food mill, food processor or blender. (Unless it's an immersion blender, fill a blender less than half full or it will "explode" when the hot liquid is pureed.)
If you prefer the soup completely smooth, put it through a fine strainer; however, a few small bits of vegetable in the puree add a nice texture. Return the puree to the pot to rewarm; season to taste with salt and pepper.
For garnish, slice the reserved asparagus tips in half lengthwise (this makes them lighter so they won't sink into the soup). Drop the asparagus tips in a pot of boiling water for 11/2 minutes or until just tender. Drain. (This step can be done in advance.)
To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with a dab of sour cream (or thin sour cream with a little milk and drizzle it on the soup). Top with asparagus tips.
Variation: Add 1/2 cup or more of cream to the soup before serving and heat throughout.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories 100, Fat 2 g, Sodium 260 mg, Carbohydrates 19 g, Saturated fat 1 g, Calcium 36 mg, Protein 3 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Dietary fiber 3 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1/2 fat.
ASPARAGUS AND CITRUS SALAD
Note: Use a fruity olive oil and good balsamic vinegar to bring out the best flavors
Add the zest to the shallots. Juice the zested orange to yield about
1/3 cup, and add the juice to the shallots. Slowly add the olive oil, stirring to mix.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and simmer until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and spread the spears on paper towels to cool.
Cut off the ends of the remaining 2 oranges and peel them. Slice the peeled orange horizontally into 1/4-inch slices.
Just before serving, toss the cooled asparagus with the vinaigrette. Arrange the spears and the orange slices on salad plates. Sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 126, Fat 7 g, Sodium 190 mg, Carbohydrates 15 g, Saturated fat 1 g, Calcium 52 mg, Protein 3 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Dietary fiber 3 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1/2 fruit, 1 1/2 fat.
Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
To comment, please click here.
© 2009, Star Tribune
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
To comment, please click here.
© 2009, Star Tribune Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services