We have been busy! The time is right for working in the Community Garden, and my kids and I have spent much of our free time there since my last post. My five year-old has his first loose tooth, my two year-old is skipping his nap, and things are crazy! Somehow, I still found time to make dinner!
When I have asparagus around, I usually can’t help but drape a runny-yolked egg on top. Roasting them at 400 with a little drizzle of olive oil is another favorite method of consumption. Tonight, I tried to get a little creative, with a little help from my friends over at Fine Cooking.
There’s nothing quite like a hearty soup with a piece of good and crusty bread. This is a wonderfully decadent soup, made only more scrumptious when working with lovely farm fresh veggies such as those over at Springdell Farm. Tonight’s dinner features the asparagus, fiddleheads, and potatoes from the most recent share box. Other Springdell ingredients include the cream, onion and garlic. What turned me on to this particular soup base was that it cleverly uses the entire asparagus, including the tougher end which usually gets broken off and tossed away. Let’s get to it, shall we?
First, I chopped up a storage onion and put it in the pot with the woody part of the asparagus stems, and brought it to a boil with 8 cups of water. I then simmered it for about half an hour to create a light and lovely stock. In the meantime, I cubed about half of my container of red potatoes. The original recipe called for peeled Yukon golds, but I love keeping the skin on potatoes whenever possible. It’s more nutritious this way, and added a lovely punch of color to the final product tonight.
Next I sautéed another storage onion in a few tablespoons of some Amish Roll butter until it started to brown. In went a tablespoon of dijon mustard and a clove of minced garlic. A minute or two of stirring and a generous splash of white wine went in. This was stirred until the wine was just about evaporated, and things are smelling great. After a quick strain of our stock, it went into the pot with the onion mixture, along with the potatoes and a teaspoon of salt.
I brought the whole thing to a boil, followed by a gentle simmer. After the potatoes started to become fork tender under a gentle simmer, I began to mash them in the pan. The original recipe calls for about half of the cubes to be mashed, but instead I half-mashed all the cubes. This left pieces of skin with some potato still there, perfect for absorbing the rich broth.
Here comes the rich part! 6 ounces of Mascarpone was whisked in to the golden simmer, followed closely by 1/2 cup of heavy cream whisked with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. A couple of minutes later, this was thickening nicely. The asparagus spears went into the simmer just 2 minutes before this was ready to serve. I left out the final teaspoon of salt suggested in the original recipe, and have no regrets. Here is the soup, accompanied by a delicious bread, but wait! Here comes a delicious plot twist!
Because I had enjoyed some of my asparagus under that egg in the first picture, I had room in the soup bowl for more veggies. While I was simmering the soup, I was also giving a precautionary boil to some fiddleheads in another saucepan. A quick drain and they were ready to go.
Look at all the nooks and crannies in these ferns! Perfect for housing some of the flavorful soup broth we just made!
This was a hit. The complexity in flavor was worth the extra time to make the asparagus stem-stock. Hip hip hooray for another way to enjoy an asparagus stem before a trip to the compost bin. Thank you for the great ideas, Fine Cooking!