Sunday, June 04, 2006

Thou Shalt Not Muzzle thy Chocolate Lady When She Treadeth Out the Asparagus

It took three of us about half an hour to pick one bunch of asparagus at Greig Farm in Red Hook New York, where Mr. Chocolate Lady and I were taken by our most awesome hostess, Tsirl. It was close to the end of the season, and I think most of the asparagus field had been pretty well picked over, so we had a bit of a challenge finding the remaining spears among forests of wild rhubarb and giant asparagus trees. I had never seen what an asparagus looks like if allowed to grow up and go to seed, and I don’t know if these pictures really give you a good idea, everything in the background being green as well—funny about vegetables. I could not resist nibbling a few of the succulent sun-warmed spears immediately.

The ones that made it to the cooking pot at Tsirl’s place were the best I have ever tasted. I brought the peelings and woody bottoms home for soup.

Dill and Asparagus Soup

About 2 pounds of asparagus
Butter and olive oil
1 large onion
1 large parsley root
¼ cup rice
1 small bunch dill, chopped
milk (optional), salt, pepper, paprika

Clean and peel the asparagus. Snap off the woody bottoms, and cut off the very tips. Scrub the parsley root. Put the asparagus peelings and bottoms in a large soup kettle with the parsley root and cover with water (about 3 quarts). Bring to the boil, lower heat and allow to simmer, de-scumming occasionally for about forty minutes.

Meanwhile heat the buter and oil in another pot. Slice the onion and cook slowly in the butter and oil over low heat. When the onion is quite soft, add the asparagus middles and raw rice. Fish the parsley root out of the stockpot, cut it up and add it to the onion-asparagus pot. Submerge the asparagus tips briefly in stock to blanch, and set aside.

Strain the stock into the vegetables. Cook until the rice is quite tender. Add the dill and puree in batches, and add milk if desired and season to taste. Serve hot or chilled (I like it chilled) with a sprig of dill and a couple of asparagus tips on top.

More herbal creations at Weekend Herb Blogging.


Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

This sounds so fun. I realized when I read it that I don't know if I've ever seen asparagus growing. The soup sounds great.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I love the idea of dill and asparagus soup.

4:22 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

I think the picture shows the plant quite well. Once you know what it looks like, you'll see it growing everywhere. Well, perhaps not here in town.

11:23 AM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Thanks Kalyn, Sher, and Ben,

I also like a dill vinaigrette with asparagus, and asparagus with eggs and dill--I am planning to write about them when I have a moment.

I walked past dozens of those asparagus trees beforew I realized what they were.

6:24 PM  

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