It's officially asparagus season, not that you would know it from the local Albertson's. I hate their produce selection. I hope to go over to Berkeley Bowl sometime this weekend and get a bundle of artichokes and maybe some more asparagus. I love the little pencil spears, cooked 'till bright green, served with a little lemon, maybe a little garlic mayonnaise.
I remember the first time I made asparagus. It was probably just a year or two after I moved here. We didn't have asparagus much when I was growing up, so it was sort of a mystery. I made some recipe that called for a lemon cream sauce to be poured over the top of the spears. I think I'd overcooked them. And the sauce was lumpy. Not a good way to to start off my asparagus experience.
However, somehow, miraculously, my cooking skills have improved since then. I now know when to take asparagus off the heat, and to plunge into cold water to stop the cooking. I don't make crummy sauces much (or sauces at all). I do, however love to make soup. I made asparagus soup with parmesan croutons last night.
It was very easy. Simmer 2 pounds of asparagus with 1 large chopped onion and a bay leaf, in stock, for an hour. Take out bay leaf. Blend. Season with salt, pepper, white pepper, a few drops lemon juice. Add some cream or milk if you like. I used soy milk.
So, my skills have improved. Except for one little thing. I can never remember to take out the bay leaf when I blend things. So here's a hint: if you notice that you've forgotten to take the bay leaf out when you're blending a soup, just keep blending until it's totally pulverized.
And add a little extra pepper.