Thursday, June 12, 2014

Asparagus Abundance

Whoop, whoop we are LOVING this year's bountiful asparagus harvest. The stop-start, cold-hot sort of approach of the weather has stretched out the harvest over several weeks now and we can't express how grateful we are. Of course there are always those sorry tips that get burnt by the frost but this year it's like a jungle out there of lush asparagus forest.

We have been selling out every week at the Tatamagouche Farmer's Market so get there quick if you want to indulge in this local delight.

I myself have never been a huge asparagus fan, kind of thought it was a little over-rated as a veggie but that was before I had my OWN. So I strongly urge those of you who are not so keen to try some locally grown stuff and start growing your own and you will be transformed into a local asparagus fan.

As a garden or field crop I highly recommend you to give it a go. All you really need at first is some manure, some asparagus crowns and a whole lot of patience because it will be about 3 years before your plants will yield any sort of edible shoot of any size. Also you must be a little partial to weeding, since this is a major issue for us and all growers who don't want to spray with chemicals. It is quite disheartening to do for 3 years before actually getting something back from the plant. But I assure you it is worth it....!!!
Convinced yet?

Here's the recipe for the asparagus soup I have been making, was inspired by my recent visit to Spain where we ate Crema de esparagus in a 12th Century Monastery. Ideally for this you would use some very thin straggly (rejects) spears of asparagus that aren't thick enough to use on their own as a vegetable. You will have access to lots these if you grow your own or know someone who does. Of course you can use the regular asparagus spears, that's if you can bear to chop up such a beautiful vegetable!

Easy Peasy Asparagus soup:

  • In a heavy based pan melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and add 1\2 a chopped onion or a couple of chopped leeks, allow these to soften in the butter.
  • Then add a chopped, peeled potato and 4 cups water, lots of salt and pepper.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins.
  • Then add 1 pound of chopped asparagus - use the straggly thin spears (see above).
  • Boil for another 5 mins.
  • Blitz with a hand blender until smooth, you could sieve it but honestly who has time for that?
  • Check the seasoning and when you serve swirl in some cream for extra creaminess.
Now must get back to transplanting or there will be no flowers this summer!

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