For white asparagus soup we use the stalky, white vegetable. It is regarded a delicacy in North-West Europe. The vegetable is only on the market from April through June. Peruvian growers provide it a half year later. Growers harvest the vegetable individually by hand white it grows underground and is therefore expensive. White asparagus is therefore also called ‘white gold’ as the subtle taste and softness contribute in richness. It contains fibers, minerals and vitamins, while 94% is water.
The art of making white asparagus soup
Asparagus needs to be peeled first. For this purpose first place the asparagus stalks for 30 minutes or more in cold water. Then use a potato skinner to remove the peel from just under the head down. Some cooks use the peels to make the broth, but it sometimes causes the soup tasting bitter. Therefore we recommend to make the soup from the asparagus itself. If the asparagus is also eaten as a vegetable, the cooking liquid can form a great base to start off with. Otherwise follow the instructions below. Asparagus soup is one of the soups that really benefits from a bechamel binder.
- slotted spoon
- potato or asparagus peeler
White Asparagus Soup
Ingredients to make the broth
- 2 lb 6 oz (1.1 kg) white asparagus
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/3 tsp ground pepper (black preferred)
- 1 quart (liter) chicken broth can also use a good cube as the base
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 bay leave
Ingredients to make the thickened soup
- 5 tbsp flour
- 1 oz (30 g) butter
- 5 oz (145 ml) milk (can be full cream or skimmed)
Instruction to make the broth
- Cut the ends of the asparagus stalks and check if the end is still 'woody' instead of juicy. If so, cut off more. Discard the ends. Peel the asparagus with a potato peeler.
- Cut off the heads and set aside. Cut 3/4 of all asparagus stalks in small pieces, 1/5 inch thick. Cut the other quarter in 1 inch pieces
- Bring the quart of chicken broth to a simmer and add the sugar, pepper, salt and all the asparagus pieces, except for the heads. Simmer for 20 minutes
- Then with a slotted spoon take out the 1 inch pieces of asparagus, let the broth cool down a bit and reserve separately the 1 inch pieces of asparagus and the broth
Instruction to make the thickened soup
- In a separate pot, melt the butter on low fire and add the flour. Stir with a whisk. The butter-flour mixture may become crumbly. Cook on low fire for 2 minutes
- Add the milk and stir with the whisk. The mixture may become crumbly and thick. Cook again for 2 minutes at low fire
- Then add the slightly cooler broth in portions, every time bringing the mixture to a simmer while using the whisk. Do this until all the both has been added
- Add the uncooked heads and the cooked 1 inch pieces of asparagus to the thickened broth and simmer for around 15 minutes. Stir with a spoon
- Taste the soup, adjust the taste if necessary by adding salt and or pepper and let cool
- Optionally one can add cream and garnish with some parsley
- As the market season is short, asparagus can also be frozen. To this purpose, cut off the ends, peel the asparagus and then freeze them quickly in small portions. To make the broth, add the still frozen asparagus stalks to the boiling chicken broth at high fire. Only after they have thawed, take them out with a slotted spoon and cut them in smaller pieces. Then continue to make the broth as described in the recipe. Failing to boil the asparagus from a frozen state may cause the asparagus to lose it tenderness. Other than that it would be difficult to tell if frozen or fresh asparagus were used to make the soup!
- Soup from green asparagus can be made in a similar way, although the taste is slightly less special.
- After consuming asparagus, your urine may contain decomposition products from chemicals that are typical of asparagus. These compounds have a typical smell in extremely low concentrations. Many people notice this but it is completely natural and harmless.