Salute Spring! Asparagus (Recipe: Cream of Asparagus Soup)

Join us as we Salute Spring with a week-long series featuring the finest fruits and vegetables of the season. Written by Katie Goodman

Spring is here and so is one of my favorite vegetables – Asparagus!

Asparagus has been one of my favorite vegetables for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I recall times and the family dinner table where my siblings would sneak their stalks onto my plate as my mother’s back was turned.

I remember eating asparagus and loving it even before entering kindergarten, which is saying something because I’ve yet to get my kindergarten-er to try even a bite!

Before you go purchasing asparagus, there are a few things to consider: Asparagus Season; Selecting and Trimming; and Simple Ways to Enjoy Asparagus.

Asparagus Season

If you’re a backyard gardener, you may want to consider adding asparagus if you have room to spare.  Because asparagus is a perennial, you plant it once and enjoy it for many years to come (of course, as long as you don’t move). But you will have to be patient. It is recommended that you don’t harvest asparagus during the first couple of years to allow time for the plant to develop a strong root system.

Fresh asparagus is at its peak between February and June, but that varies according to location. If you aren’t sure when asparagus is at its peak in your area, check out this handy Peak-Season Produce Map.

How to Select Asparagus

  1. Select spears that are brightly colored, straight, round, and without strong odor. Colors may vary: green, white, or purple.
  2. The tips of the asparagus should be tightly closed.
  3. Look for asparagus that is uniform in thickness. This will allow for even cooking.

Note: Asparagus thickness does not affect the taste, but is rather a personal preference. Some prefer pencil thin asparagus stalks while others prefer thicker. Choose what suits you best.

How to Trim Asparagus

snapping asparagus stems

all photos by Katie Goodman

Asparagus stems often have a tough, woody part that needs to be removed. I find this bend and snap method simple and more accurate than trimming the ends with a knife.

To easily remove that portion, hold the asparagus at its mid-point with one hand. Using the thumb and index finger of your other hand, hold the asparagus about an inch from the bottom.

how to trim asparagus

Then, simply bend the stalk and it will snap on it’s own. Discard the small portion and reserve the remaining stalk for cooking. It might seem like waste, but you don’t want to eat the tough portion anyway – it doesn’t taste very good.

5 Simple Ways to Enjoy Asparagus this Spring

Asparagus is a very versatile vegetable and is often my go-to for a vegetable side this time of year.

1. Stir-Fried – I love how adaptable stir-fry is to whatever vegetables you have in the refrigerator. Snap asparagus into 1 – 2 inch pieces for asparagus so it cooks more quickly. Go vegetarian or use whatever meat you have on hand: chicken, shrimp or beef.

2. Grilled or Roasted – Grilled or roasted asparagus is my favorite way to cook this vegetable as a simple side. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Then, just before serving add lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.

3. In a Frittata – Using my Easy Frittata Formula, you can cook up all kinds of creative flavor combinations with asparagus as the star. Frittatas are easy meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

4. In Risotto or Fried RiceFried Rice and Risotto are filling dishes that can serve as sides or the main dish. Next time, try adding asparagus to your rice dishes.

5. Puréed – Puréed might not be the method you think of first, but asparagus is absolutely delicious in this mild, spring soup.

cream of asparagus soup recipe

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Weather can be finicky during spring and although we’re usually craving lighter foods we might need something a little more warming on cooler days. Give this Cream of Asparagus soup a try next time your spring weather takes a dip.

adapted from Soups, Stews and Chilis

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup cleaned and chopped leeks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed green asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • fresh Parmesan, for serving (if desired)
  1. Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. When melted, add the leeks and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute.
  2. Stir in the flour, mixing well with the butter, and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the white wine. Make sure to scrape up any browned bits. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add 3 cups of broth, whisking to eliminate any lumps. Bring liquid to a simmer over medium-heat. Add the asparagus pieces and the bay leaf. Reduce to medium-low heat and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender.
  4. Discard the bay leaf. Add the mixture to a food processor, working in batches if needed, and purée until soup is very smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup of broth, if needed.
  5. Pour the soup back into the pot over low heat. Stir in the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon juice. Heat the soup for 2-3 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste, and add extra liquid until preferred consistency is reached. If desired, grate a bit of fresh Parmesan on top.

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Asparagus is a very popular spring vegetable. Does it make your top three favorites?

About Katie G

Katie’s lifelong interest in food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. Katie Goodman is the cook, recipe developer, and self-taught photographer behind GoodLife Eats. It is there that she shares what she finds good in the kitchen and in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week.

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Comments

  1. I make something like that too! We have a ton of asparagus coming in right now, finally.
    Sofya @ Girls’ Guide to Guns and Butter’s last post: How to Plant Potatoes in Wisconsin

  2. Man… one of the drawbacks to living in AZ is our soup weather lasts about 2 weeks. This one looks delicious!
    Amanda N’s last post: Quick and Dirty

  3. I use the whole asparagus! The woody portion is an awesome source of fiber. I simply dice, blanch and then thrown in a frittata or season with salt and eat as is.

  4. Another benefit of asparagus is that it is supposed to help remove toxins from your body naturally.
    Suanna’s last post: Steps

  5. We love asparagus! This soup looks fantastic!
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction’s last post: Giveaway- Edgeware Mandoline Slicer

  6. Oh I love asparagus! This is spring in a bowl – beautiful!
    Maria @ Scandifoodie’s last post: Asure – Noahs Pudding

  7. I love to use asparagus in a creamy lemon pasta. Thanks for the other great ideas.
    Cindy @ OnePartSunshine’s last post: Dear Mom- Sorry I Was Such a &amp!@

  8. Oh that sounds heavenly! I’m a big fan of asparagus too, I like it roasted or just lightly steamed, even shaved in salads.
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen’s last post: kale powder your daily dose of green

  9. Oh please let there be local asparagus at the market tomorrow morning!!
    ChristineG’s last post: Kids Clothing Week Challenge- Thursday’s Sewing

  10. This is a winner! I also added a half cup of peas, since I didn’t have too much asparagus. Such a lovely flavor. I wonder if my picky eaters will give green a chance…

  11. I love my asparagus that grows in my garden (thank you to the lovely woman I bought my house from)! I took today’s harvest of the beautiful asparagus (many more than a foot long) and whipped this up with some bread & fresh butter on the side – it was AMAZING!
    Rachel’s last post: Spinach &amp Mushroom Frittata

  12. This looks sooo good. don’t care if it reaches 105 here I still make soup and I can’t wait to add this one to the list before all of the asparagus is out of season.
    Tickled Red’s last post: Parmesan Encrusted Potato Salad Cakes

  13. Asparagus is my top 3. This recipe is great. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks.
    Chloe’s last post: 7 Reasons to Start a Sugar Detox Program Today

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