Asparagus is a classic sign of spring—its bold energy breaking cold ground, stretches tall to greet the warming sun. With a happy, enlivening spirit, asparagus acts to announce the awakening life and possibility that we associate with spring.
Like many greens that also come to life in the spring, asparagus is bitter in taste and acts to eliminate excess moisture and toxins. Asparagus stimulates the kidneys to purge excess water from the system, while also reducing cholesterol deposits in arteries.1
Asparagus and Pea Soup with Basil (Serves 6)
This is a wonderful soup bridging the time when asparagus is plentiful and spring peas first arrive.
1 ½ pounds asparagus, well -washed
1 cup fresh-shelled peas
2 onions, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
½ cup light cream
Salt and pepper
Basil leaves, finely sliced as garnish
1. Cut off the asparagus tips. Simmer tips and fresh peas in an inch or two of boiling water for about 4 minutes, until tender. Drain and reserve.
2. Cut the tender part of the asparagus stalks into 1-inch lengths.
3. Saute the onion in butter or ghee uncovered, for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the asparagus pieces and cook, stirring occasionally for another 5-10 minutes.
4. Add the stock or water, cover, and simmer the soup for 30 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.
5. Puree the soup with an immersion wand or blender, and then pass it thru a food mill.
6. Return the soup to a clean pot, add cream and heat, but do not boil.
7. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Serve in heated bowls, topped warmed tips and peas, garnished with basil.
Simple Green Pea and Asparagus Soup (Serves 8)
This is a non-dairy, easier variation of the above, again combining fresh asparagus and peas.
1 ½ pound green peas, shelled
1 ½ pound asparagus, well-washed, with ends removed, thinly sliced
¼ cup butter or ghee
1 ½ cup sliced onions
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Garish: finely sliced basil leaves
1. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and cook onions until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add peas, asparagus, stock and cook for about 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve garnished with basil.
Skillet Asparagus (Serves 4)
This is my favorite way to cook asparagus. It is quick, easy, and needs no special steamer.
2 pounds fresh asparagus, well-washed and trimmed
Butter or cold-pressed olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Garnish: Fresh lemon slices and chopped herbs, as desired
1. Place asparagus in a large skillet with tips aligned. Cover with cold water.
2. Bring to boil in the open skillet until stalks are just tender when tested with a knife, about 8 minutes or so.
3. Remove and drain, and place on serving platter.
4. Drizzle with melted butter or olive oil, sprinkle with herbs and serve with fresh slices of lemon.
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- See Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods, 536-537. [↩]