Asparagus is one of the very best things to come from the earth, and because its growing period is rather short (just 6-7 weeks from about Mother’s Day to Father’s Day), I thoroughly enjoy every spear that comes into my kitchen. Whether it’s swirled in a pan with hot butter and garlic, roasted with canola oil and lemon juice, stirred into pasta, or chopped into a salad, fresh, local asparagus is absolute magic. You can add it to omelets and pizza, snuggle it up to a couple of over-easy eggs, and grill it over low heat for a sumptuous side-dish.
Asparagus is best eaten as soon as you bring it home.
Refrigerating: Wrap spear ends in a damp paper towel and store in an unsealed plastic bag, or, if you have room, stand the bunch upright in a jar filled with water. Use within 3 to 4 days.
Freezing: Wash thoroughly, trim the ends, cut into 1½-inch pieces, and blanch (plunge into boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer to ice cold water). Drain off excess moisture and pack into resealable plastic bags. Can be frozen for up to 1 year.
Tips to Prevent Food Waste
To remove tough ends, don’t snap the stalks at their natural breaking point, as you lose too much of the vegetable this way. Simply start at the cut end and gently test with a sharp knife. If there’s resistance, move a little further up the spear until you feel the knife would cut through the spear without effort.
Cream of Asparagus Soup
- Trim the tips from 12 asparagus spears (about 2 inches from the top) and cut them in half lengthwise if thick. Set aside for garnish. Cut the remaining asparagus, including the leftover bits from the previous step, into ½-inch pieces.
- Warm the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about another 1–2 minutes. Add the asparagus and mustard powder. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add just enough broth to cover— about 3½ cups. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until the asparagus is very tender, about 15–20 minutes.
- While the soup simmers, cook the reserved asparagus spears in a small pot of boiling salted water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Purée the soup in a blender. (I do it in three batches.) Transfer the purée to a large bowl. Be careful! Hot liquid!
- Return all of the puréed soup to the pot, stir in the cream, and thin to your desired consistency with more broth. You may need to warm the soup over low heat as you do this. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with more salt and pepper. Divide the soup into bowls and garnish with the asparagus tips.