House Works: Using Asparagus

Spring is always a fun time to visit the grocery store. That's because there are some vegetables that are beginning to be in season. One vegetable that is popular right now is asparagus. But sometimes it can be hard to come up with a unique recipe for using it.

In House Works, Chef Christ Leon joins us with not one, but two recipes that use asparagus to its fullest potential.

Cream of Asparagus Soup (Crème d'asperges)

Ingredients
• 2 pounds green asparagus
• 1 large red onion, chopped
• 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3 cups milk
• 1 cup vermouth
• 1/2 cup crème fraîche
• 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste after soup is chilled

Preparation
Cut tips from 12 asparagus, 1 1/2 inches from top and halve tips lengthwise if thick. Reserve for garnish if you wish. Cut stalks and all remaining asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces. Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add asparagus pieces and salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring, 5 minutes.

Simmer covered and cook until asparagus is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Chill cooked asparagus in ice bath, then add vermouth, milk, and crème fraiche. While soup rests, cook reserved asparagus tips in boiling salted water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain.

Purée soup with hand blender until smooth, transferring to a bowl. Season with salt and peper and add remaining tablespoon butter. Add more milk if thinner soup is desired.

Add lemon juice and garnish with asparagus tips before you serve chilled!!

Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 450F. Place asparagus in a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss lightly to coat. Roast, uncovered, in the preheated oven about 15 minutes or until crisp-tender, lightly tossing twice during roasting. Transfer asparagus to a warm serving platter. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 servings.


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