Asparagus – A sure sign of Spring
(Therese Nugent is a chef instructor and recipe writer living in Sonoma. Using a combination of expertise, personal experience, the love of food and fitness, and her gift of motivation, she has inspired hundreds and hundreds of people to enjoy everyday living. Approachable, engaging, and enthusiastic, Therese epitomizes the modern day Sonoma lifestyle and her mastery of food and fitness reflects the quality of living in Sonoma.She holds a B.A. degree in Interpersonal Communication, advanced certifications in fitness and nutrition, and is a certified culinary professional. A fitness consultant and trainer for over twenty years, she is a featured food writer and published author. Married to Mike, Therese stays particularly busy with their school-age son and twin daughters who enthusiastically partake in her culinary creations. For more from Therese see her website, sonomadish.com.)
It’s spring. It’s asparagus. The quintessential expression of an awakening season is the appearance of fresh, snappy asparagus spears. Whether sprung from the overflowing produce stand or snapped from a garden bed, those bright green spears are sure evidence that spring has arrived.
Aware of my love for asparagus, one of the first gifts my husband gave me was the planting of an asparagus patch. Now the planting of asparagus is a long-term investment, as the first years of sowing are unproductive and no crop bears the culinary treat for some time. I found this prophetic gift rather romantic and a sign that the relationship might endure. Well, our asparagus bed is mature these days and producing lovely stalks that we pick and eat daily this time of year. And where some kids profess their love for mom by picking a wild flower or two, my precious children harvest asparagus shoots from the family garden, presenting them to me, knowing it will please their mother to no end. Ah, the tender delights of spring!
This is a true spring treat. The immersion blender has revolutionized for me the ease of preparing pureed soups and the frequency of which I prepare them. I highly recommend this terrific kitchen tool.
Cream of Asparagus Soup with Spring Herb Gremolata - Serves 6
4 tablespoons unsalted butter , 3 leeks, trimmed and sliced, 4 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces , 6 cups chicken stock, ¼ cup dry sherry, ½ cup crème fraiche salt, and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, and...
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, and the minced zest of 2 lemons and 1 clove garlic, minced
1. In a heavy stockpot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and sauté until tender approximately 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the asparagus is very tender, approximately 20 minutes
2. Using a hand-held immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the sherry and crème fraiche and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic.
4. To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowls and garnish with the gremolata.