CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP
1/2 regular onion or 6 green onions, chopped 1 Tbsp (15mL) butter 1 large potato, diced 2 Cups (500mL) chicken broth 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of fresh asparagus, peeled and chopped, woody stems removed 4 stalks of celery, chopped salt and pepper to taste cream or milk
Sauté onions in butter. Add potatoes and broth. Simmer it all together until the potato is soft. Add asparagus and celery; cook for approximately 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Purée the soup, adding cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency.
ASPARAGUS WITH ORANGE BUTTER SAUCE
1/3 Cup (80mL) butter 2 Tbsp (30mL) grated orange rind 1/4 Cup (60mL) orange juice 1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus peeled orange slices
Combine butter, orange rind, and juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half and slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Set the sauce aside and keep it warm. Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Cook asparagus, covered, in a small amount of boiling water for 6-8 minutes or until tender but still a touch crisp. Drain well. Arrange on a serving plate, then pour the orange sauce over the asparagus. Garnish with orange slices if desired.
PASTA WITH ASPARAGUS AND WHITE WINE SAUCE
10 asparagus stalks, ends removed 1 Tbsp (15mL) olive oil, divided 1/2 tsp (2mL) salt, divided 12 ounces (340 grams) dry fettuccine 1 Cup (250mL) dry white wine 3 shallots, chopped 2 lemons 1 ½ (375mL) whipping cream 1/3 cup (80mL) plus 2 Tbsp (30mL) grated Parmesan cheese, divided 1/8 tsp (.5mL) cayenne pepper 4 Tbsp (60mL) butter 1 Tbsp (15mL) minced chives (optional) 1 Tbsp (15mL) minced mint (optional)
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Remove the tougher ends of the asparagus by holding each end of the stalk and bending. The asparagus spear will break naturally where the toughness ends. Place the asparagus stalks in a baking pan large enough to hold them in one layer, and gently rub them with 1/2 Tbsp (7.5mL) olive oil. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp (1mL) of salt over the asparagus, and bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the stalks. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a generous amount of salted boiling water, cook the fettuccine until al dente (not quite soft). Drain, place in a bowl and toss with ½ Tbsp (7.5mL) olive oil.
Pour the wine into a large skillet or pan. Add shallots. Cook over medium heat until the wine is reduced to one half its original volume. Wash the lemons, rinse and dry. Add grated rind and juice from 2 lemons to the wine. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cream.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and add 1/3 Cup (80mL) Parmesan cheese, ¼ tsp (1mL) salt and the cayenne pepper. Simmer slowly, whisking constantly, about 4 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add to the sauce, cooking it for about 1 minute. Add asparagus, pasta and 2 Tbsp (30mL) of cheese. Toss until the pasta is thoroughly coated with the sauce and heated through.
ASPARAGUS COCONUT CURRY
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp (5mL) to 2 Tbsp (30mL) curry paste
asparagus – ¾ Cup (180mL) per person
1 can peaches, drained
chicken breast, cubed – 1 breast per person
Pour ½ of coconut milk into large skillet or wok, heat on medium heat (medium low if using gas). Mix in curry paste, 1 tsp at a time until you reach your desired intensity of flavour. Add remaining coconut milk. Add chicken and cook app. 7 minutes. Add asparagus and cook until crunchy, app. 5 – 7 minutes. Add drained peaches and stir until well mixed.Pour coconut curry mixture over rice. Takes about 30 minutes – easy to experiment with different vegetables and meats.
Sandie Zobell – Chestermere, Alberta
Asparagus shoots are a good source of vitamin K, which contributes to good bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation) activity. Adequate vitamin K helps in limiting neuronal damage in the brain, thus, has an established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Asparagus is a very low-calorie vegetable. 100 g fresh asparagus spears contain only 20 calories – more calories are burned in digesting asparagus than are gained by eating eat, causing it to be included among the so-called “negative calorie vegetables.”
Asparagus is high in minerals, especially copper and iron. It also includes small amounts of calcium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.
Fresh asparagus spears are good source of antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, carotenes, and crypto-xanthins. Together, these flavonoid compounds help remove harmful oxidant free radicals from the body, and protect it from possible cancer, neuro-degenerative diseases, and viral infections.