Asparagus

Asparagus for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Before I share these simple meals there are three things you should know: I love an elaborate breakfast, try to limit my meat intake and [un]fortunately I'm the only one in the house who really loves to eat asparagus! Which means I always have a supply of the jarred white as well as green asparagus in the pantry as a quick go-to veg when I want soup or something special with either a hot lunch or a salad. That spring is one of my favourite seasons is no secret, but part of that is because there are fresh asparagus to come by. Buying fresh asparagus is not necessarily cheap though and that's why I feel compelled to make the most of them! In this recipe post you'll learn how I

  • split 1 to 2 bundles of white asparagus into 3 portions + 1 jar for 4 meals (this is the frugal way to make the most of a bundle)
  • split 1 bundle of green asparagus into 2 meals
  • NATURALLY you can choose any one of these meals and add an entire bundle of asparagus to it - it's your kitchen!
Six ways to enjoy asparagus!
Base ingredients - white asparagus
  • 1 - 2 bundles of asparagus (white)
  • 1 - 2 jars of whole white asparagus (retain juice!)
  • 1 large bundle of parsley (finely chopped - minus stems but freeze stems for future vegetable soup)
  • 1 lemon washed
  • real butter
  • pepper & salt

Asparagus & Smoked Salmon
Breakfast for 2
  • 4 slices of bread for toasting
  • 4 slices of smoked salmon
  • 4 eggs - can be hard boiled, soft boiled, or poached!
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • Crème fraîche
  • Butter for toast (salt-crystal works well here)
  • Lemon wedges

    Asparagus soup
    Lunch for 2
    • 1/2 cup chopped leeks (white only)
    • 500 to 750ml chicken or vegetable bouillon
    • Juice from jarred asparagus minus 1/2 cup (set aside for the cream sauce)
    • Jarred asparagus (cut off the tips about 5cm or 1.5 to 2 inches and set aside)
    • 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon of dry celery powder
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 small potato
    • slice lemon

      Asparagus A la Flamande
      Appetizer for 2
      • 5 asparagus spears pp
      • 2 eggs hard boiled
      • warm, melted butter (with salt-crystals works)
      • chopped parsley
      • pepper (and salt) to taste

        Asparagus Cream Sauce
        Dinner for 2
        • A few asparagus cut into pieces per person
        • 1 shot glass dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio works)
        • 1/2 cup of the juice from the asparagus in a jar
        • Slice of lemon and some zest
        • butter
        • cream
        • salt/ pepper
        • Fresh tortellini cooked per package instructions
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        The asparagus: base method

        • Break bottom of the asparagus in its natural place by bending slightly about 3 cm (1.5 inch) from the bottom of the spear and letting it snap off. Or cut the bottom off with a knife.
        • Peel the top part of the asparagus with a peeler (thin slicer) beginning just below the head
        • Peel the snapped off bottoms as well. They are hard, but flavourful to make broth
        • Add the fresh asparagus to boiling/lightly salted water
        • Check after about 5 minutes if tender, and every minute after that!
        • Lift the spears from the broth and set aside to drain
          • Set the asparagus broth aside
          • Reserve juices from draining
          • Divide the bundle9s) into three portions
        • Finely chop an entire bundle of curly leaf parsley
        • Wash the lemon

        Breakfast: Asparagus with smoked salmon and toast

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        Simple and scrumptious!

        • Arrange a pretty plate with smoked salmon and tender, warm asparagus
        • Add a dollop of firm sour cream or crème fraîche and piece of lemon for the salmon
        • Finely shop a small shallot
        • Boil one or two eggs - choose hard boiled, soft boiled or poached!
        • Butter the toast (butter with sea salt crystals works very well here)
        • Parsley for garnish
        • Serve with Brut Cava or Champagne, OR a Mimosa cocktail (1/3 glass freshly squeezed orange juice topped off with Cava or Champagne)
        • TIP:
          • Top with a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce
          • make it Eggs Benedict: layer a crumpet (English muffin) sliced in half and toasted with Canadian or English bacon, a poached egg, topped with Hollandaise sauce

        Asparagus à la Flamande

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        Asparagus as an appetizer to accompany any fancy menu, or simply as a light lunch served with baguette

        • Boil the eggs - hard boiled (8 minutes)
        • Chop the egg roughly with a fork
        • Gently melt butter in the microwave
        • Heat the prepared asparagus gently through on an appetizer plate
        • Top with the chopped egg in a thick line across the asparagus
        • Season with salt and pepper
        • Top generously with freshly chopped parsley, at least 2 tablespoons
        • Drizzle 2 - 3 tablespoons of molten butter over the eggs/ asparagus
        • Serve immediately with lemon to squeeze as garnish or squeeze some lemon over the meal before serving (serve warm)

        Cream of Asparagus Soup

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        A super quick spring soup

        • Broth set aside from preparing the bundle(s) of fresh asparagus
        • Add:  bouillon cube, a slice of lemon (optional), bay leaf, thyme, the peeled/cubed potato, handful of chopped white of leeks, and juice from asparagus jar (minus 1/2 cup set aside if making the cream sauce), pepper to taste
        • Cut heads off the jarred asparagus about 4 to 5cm and set aside for serving
        • Chop the rest of the jarred asparagus and add to broth
        • Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until leeks and potato are tender
        • Remove bay leaf!!
        • Blend until smooth
        • Return soup to the stove and adjust seasoning
        • Add a generous amount of chopped parsley and the (jarred) asparagus heads you set aside
        • Simmer very gently 5 minutes
        • Serve with a splash of cream (or creme fraiche if you want a more tart result and baguette)
        • TIPS:
          • to make a creamy soup without using cream, add a small amount of courgette or the seedy heart of courgette 
          • my grandmother-of-the-heart would urge you to put a lump of butter in the soup when you add the parsley
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        Tortellini con Asparagus à la Creme

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        The final 1/3 of the fresh asparagus was set aside for a delicious pasta sauce

        • Chop the tips off at about 4 - 5 cm (1.5 - 2 inches) and set aside
        • Chop the rest of the asparagus into 1cm pieces and add to saucepan
        • Add butter, lemon zest (and a lemon slice optional) and a generous spoonful of parsley
        • Let the butter melt/ sizzle but don't brown it!! (we're making a white sauce)
        • Pour in a shot glass of white wine and an equal amount to about 1/2 cup juice from jarred asparagus and let reduce a little
        • Remove the lemon slice and gently pour in cream till the asparagus are covered (single layer) - you might take a spoonful of the juices, add cream and stir it into the sauce first, then add the rest of the cream. Because of the lemon the sauce has more risk of curdling.
        • Add salt & pepper to taste
        • Add fresh asparagus heads
        • Simmer the sauce until it thickens
        • Toss in fresh spinach/ricotta tortellini (cooked separately per package instructions
        • Shave some fresh parmesan over the top to serve!
        • TIP:
          • add an egg yolk to the sauce
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        Bonus recipes with green asparagus
        What is the difference between green and white asparagus and do they taste differently? The difference between the two is simply that white asparagus are grown in earthen mounds, underground while green asparagus grew above ground in sunlight. As a result, white asparagus are more fibrous and you need to cut more off than with the more slender and tender green asparagus. White asparagus have a more silky flavor, a slightly more bitter lemony (like the peel of a lemon), while green are more fresh and lemony tasting. White asparagus need blanching before you would sautee them e.g. in butter. Green asparagus can be grilled and sauteed easily without boiling or peeling first and olive oil is the perfect touch. Both are high in fiber and antioxidants.
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        Grilled green smoked bacon wrapped asparagus
        • There is no need to peel green asparagus. Just snap off the bottom (bend them and they will snap in their natural spot - very easy).
        • Give them a rinse
        • Toss in a little olive oil and pepper
        • Wrap each asparagus in a slice of "poitrine fumée"
        • Grill until bacon is crispy and the asparagus are just bite-tender
        • Serve with steak or fish
        • Vegetarian? Omit bacon, add some sea salt
        Simple sautéed green asparagus
        • There is no need to peel green asparagus. Just snap off the bottom (bend them and they will snap in their natural spot - very easy).
        • Give them a rinse and dry with kitchen towel
        • Toss in a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper
        • Heat a skillet
        • Drop in the asparagus (please don't over-fill, do it in batches if you have a lot of them)
        • Sautée on medium high to high heat for about 5 minutes, turning them over halfway. They will slightly brown.

        Asparagus are a humble vegetable, and yet they are the top spring ingredient to create simple but scrumptious meals fit for a queen... a guilty pleasure to prepare in larger quantities for your next dinner party and yet so simple to prepare. We hope you enjoy this small discovery tour of asparagus.

        Enjoy,
        Bren
        PS. For the sake of the planet... buy local!