Saturday, March 27, 2010

Something Green This Way Comes: Cream of Asparagus Soup

Asparagus arrives with the earliest and most eager days of spring and that is why I love it so. If I could choose to reappear on this earth in a food form, (yes, there is room in my mind for such random thoughts- using the imagination isn't just a puerile pasttime!) I would be asparagus. You have to love the dogged determination of this lean green stalk of nutrients. No fat, no cholesterol, and densely packed with good-for-you vitamins. It dares to wait three years before propagating(gotta grow those roots) and once it does, it reproduces with zeal. I appreciate that it doesn't require much preparation to be delicious.

My favorite way to eat asparagus is to saute it in olive oil with green onions and then very lightly salt it. I admire the way it gets greener and stays firm even when cooked. What's not to love? Seeing asparagus appear in bundles in the grocery store a few weeks ago buoyed my hopes that warmth and sunshine were on the way. If you can't trust the crudites, it's a dark day.

And of course, there is the health factor. Vegetables are good for you as we all know. That is why parents across the world make their children eat them before they bust out the chocolate cake. My memories of Grandma cooking vegetables doesn't involve olive oil though. She usually cooked them in water. I do know that she recognized that they lost some nutritional value in that process. She once offered me a cup of vegetable water left from boiling green beans. "Here" she said, "they say all the vitamins are in the water." No thanks, my adoloscent self replied. I watched, astonished, as Grandma knocked back the cup of green bean water. She dared to chuckle at my incredulous expression. I like that in a person. Way to go Grandma!

Here is a recipe for Cream of Asparagus Soup
2 bunches of asparagus
4 green onions
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 qt milk (I used some fat free half and half)
salt and pepper
Melt butter in saucepan, add flour and then milk to make a cream sauce.
cook chopped asparagus for 20 minutes in salt water.
Saute minced onion in 1 T of butter; when tender, add to asparagus.
Add asparagus to cream sauce.
Bring to a boil and serve.

This was really delicious!
This recipe is adapted from the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950). It was submitted by Mrs. Amos B. Charles from my dad's homeland Lancaster, PA.

With the love of green things and spring,

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