Friday, June 22, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 2 -- Asparagus -- Asparagus Soup

Alyce's Asparagus Soup a la Silver Palate

Every Friday for the foreseeable future, I'll be blogging one of the 38 healthiest ingredients from POWER FOODS : 150 DELICIOUS RECIPES WITH THE 38 HEALTHIEST INGREDIENTS by the editors of Whole Living Magazine. 

38 Power Foods is a group effort!   Stop by these other blogs and see what they're cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available: 

Ansh –  
Jill – SaucyCooks 
Sarah - Everything in the Kitchen Sink
As we go along, I'm guessing we'll get some other writers involved.  If you're interested in joining the gang writing each week, get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits:

Read me regularly and you know asparagus is just about my favorite vegetable.  Maybe zucchini is first; I don't know.  But I cook asparagus at the drop of a hat.  In lots of ways.  Here's one of my favorite recipes, worth buying some gorgeous tiny bowls for (think antique store) so you can make this as a first-course.  I first made Asparagus Soup as a starter for the lunch celebrating my daughter's baptism, and have been making it ever since.

alyce's asparagus soup a la silver palate
   4 main course servings         6-8 first course servings

  • 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped coarsely
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2T butter or olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 6T fresh tarragon (or 2t dry), divided
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2# asparagus, trimmed well and chopped
  • 1 1/2-2 quarts chicken broth, unsalted*
  •  3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
  • 4-6 drops hot sauce (I like Tabasco.)
  • 1/4 c low-fat sour cream*
  • Lemon rind

In  6qt stockpot, heat butter or oil over medium-low and add chopped onions and shallot. Saute about 10 minutes until softened; add garlic.  Cook another 5 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.  Add salt, pepper, tarragon, parsley, and asparagus.  Let flavors marry by cooking a minute or two, stirring and smelling as you go.  Oh, tarragon.

Pour in 1 1/2 qts chicken stock and add the carrots and celery.  Add the Tabasco carefully.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer 40 minutes or so until all the vegetables are very tender indeed.  As it cooks, add more broth if it seems too thick.   Taste and adjust seasonings. 

 Carefully puree in batches in blender (hold down top with a big towel) or in the food processor.   You can use an immersion blender if you have one, of course.

Pour back into pan and serve hot or let cool and chill to serve cold.  Top with a spoonful of sour cream, a sprinkle of tarragon, and a grate or two of fresh lemon rind.

*For a vegan version, use vegetable broth and leave out sour cream

If you live in St. Paul, my tarragon is right off my back porch in a whiskey barrel; you're welcome to pick some.

about asparagus   

                                                                                                             A. Morgan
  Asparagus is the leading supplier among vegetables of folic acid. A 5.3 ounce serving provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance for folacin which is necessary for blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver disease. Folacin has been shown to play a significant role in the prevention of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, that cause paralysis and death in 2,500 babies each year.
Its wealth of nutrients, fiber and very low sodium and calorie content make asparagus a nutritionally wise choice for today's health-conscious consumer.
Asparagus is:
  • Low in calories, only 20 per 5.3 oz. serving, less than 4 calories per spear.
  • Contains no fat or cholesterol.
  • Very low in sodium.
  • A good source of potassium.(1)
  • A source of fiber (3 grams per 5.3 oz. serving). (2)
  • An excellent source of folacin. (3)
  • A significant source of thiamin. (4)
  • A significant source of vitamin B6. (4)
  • One of the richest sources of rutin, a compound which strengthens capillary walls.
  • Contains glutathione (GSH). (5)  
  • nutrition info:  courtesy
other new projects - phew!

Here's my fast Clam Chowder.  Should it go in the new book???
I'm SO excited:  I'm just starting to write a small cookbook called 30 Soups in 30 Minutes, and would enjoy some ideas you might have about what soups you'd like to know how to make quickly--or which soups from either blog you particularly like.   There'll also be some simple accompaniments for the soups, wine pairings, and a few tiny (read instant) desserts.  It looks like I'll be publishing through amazon on Create Space and then on to  Kindle.  Thoughts?  Anyone done this before?  I have July and August to work hard on it; I'm not directing a choir and only have some lessons and a seminar to teach.  If you'd like to test any soup recipes, let me know; I need testers.  The first recipe, Broccoli Soup with Toasted Brie, is ready for testing.   Someone once wanted to do wine pairings for this book.  Still up for it?!   I'm so grateful to each of you for your support over the last three years (or more) and can't wait to show you the book!  Now that I've put it out on the blog, I'm gonna have to come through, eh?  Sounding real.

Sing a new song; cook a new soup,


  1. I am not sure if this is a hot or cold soup. If it is hot, our almost 100 degree weather would take away the soup love, we do have. If it is cold, I would love to try it. It looks yummy and would be a new soup, for us.

  2. I love asparagus and I love pureed soups. How can anyone go wrong with this recipe! Delicious!

  3. Lovely hot and perfect cold, the recipe actually says, "serve hot or let cool and chill." I never said this, but I think it could be made in the slow cooker or even in the microwave (I have a big glass pot with a lid that fits in mine; I cook beans there--best beans.) to avoid even leaving the stove on.

    Hope you'll try it! We just had some broccoli soup I'm testing for the cookbook hot one day and cold the next evening when the temperatures were too hot to even eat on the patio. Go, cold soup!

  4. I love asparagus soup and I love tarragon ! I'm intrigued with the combination of tarragon and tobacco so I must try this! We are working on a cookbook too and have also been exploring Blurb. Elizabeth Andoh used it for the Tsunami Relief cookbook she published.

  5. I loved learning more about asparagus this week - and I could definitely enjoy a bowl of this cold.

  6. @Jill--Thanks. Will check blurb out.
    @Jeanette--cold is good!

  7. Cold for me too please. It's blazing HOT in Denver these days. Loved the nutrition info on Asparagus. I am getting to learn so much from the power foods blog group!

  8. @Ansh I know just how hot Denver is; we lived in the Springs for 15 years before moving to St. Paul last year. Still own a house there, in fact. Nice here, today, though; I'm cooking a wine-paired dinner I sold at a silent auction (for a pretty penny) and haven't broken a sweat. Sorry! Stay cool:)

  9. Alyce,
    This asparagus sound particularly yummy. The girls at Silver Palate certainly had some good recipes and this sure sounds like a winner. i can't wait to try it!

  10. I'm an original SILVER PALATE fan. Can't imagine where our world would be without it. Or where I would be.

  11. The Silver Palate girls certainly had a way with flavors didn't they? This one for asparagus soup looks and sounds so delicious, I've bookmarked it to try soon. Have to enjoyed learning more about all the terrific health benefits of asparagus too. It's so fun when we love foods that love us back, isn't it?

  12. @Martha: Nice to love vegetables! You're right.

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