This month’s vegetable is Asparagus and perhaps not one that people automatically use when cooking. I tried to grow some once when I lived in the UK, but it was very time consuming to get just a few spears.

One of the common ways to use Asparagus in Spain is ready cooked out of a tin and placed on top of a salad. There are also lots of tapas with Asparagus in and below are a couple of examples which are quick and easy to make, but delicious for a snack. I have added my soup recipe, but also my risotto dish which is very easy to make. A lot of people are worried about trying risotto, but this recipe is very easy to follow but tastes amazing with Asparagus.
Buen Apetito

Asparagus and Nuts

2 tbsp butter
1 pound of Asparagus spears
1/3 lb almond nut flakes
1/3 lb Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the Asparagus spears and cook for 3 minutes. Add the nut flakes and the cheese and cook until cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

Asparagus and Mushrooms

1 bunch of fresh Asparagus trimmed
½lb fresh mushrooms
2 tsp of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh rosemary to taste

Preheat oven to 230º C. Lightly spray a baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray. Place the Asparagus and mushrooms in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, then season with rosemary, salt and pepper; toss well. Lay the Asparagus and mushrooms out on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Roast in the preheated oven until the Asparagus is tender; about 15 minutes.

Asparagus and Salmon in Foil

4 sheets aluminium foil, wrap (12” x 18”)
4 x (5 ounce) salmon fillets
1lb Asparagus
1 fresh lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Seasoning salt
Lemon wedge (to garnish)

Preheat oven to 450º. Snap the ends off Asparagus spears (they will break where tender) and divide into 4 equal portions. Spray the centre of each foil sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place one salmon fillet in the centre of each sheet, top with a serving of the Asparagus and drizzle with lemon juice. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and salt or seasoning and blend as desired. Bring up the sides of foil and fold top over twice. Seal ends, leaving room for air to circulate inside the packet. Place packets on a baking sheet and cook in oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until salmon is opaque. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Cream of Asparagus Soup

1lb fresh Asparagus spears
1 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp unsalted butter
24 ounces chicken stock
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 celery rib, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme (or fresh thyme)
8 ounces cream (use evaporated skim milk to cut more fat)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Soak and rinse Asparagus. Remove top inch of each spear, discard tough lower touch part and reserve middle portion of stalks. In a saucepan, over medium heat, sauté onion in butter for 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add chicken stock, Asparagus tips and stems, potato, celery, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove Asparagus tips and set aside. Place half of the soup at a time in a blender container. Cover and blend at high speed for 20-30 seconds or until very smooth and return blended soup to saucepan. Add reserved Asparagus tips and cream (or half and half, or milk) and heat thoroughly, or refrigerate to be served cold.

Asparagus Risotto

1½lbs Asparagus
5 cups canned chicken soup
1 cup water
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion
2 cups medium-grain white rice
½ cup dry white wine
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup whipping cream

Trim rough ends from Asparagus; discard. Cut off Asparagus tips and reserve. Cut stalks into ¾” long pieces. Place 2/3 of stalk pieces, 1 cup broth and 1 cup water in blender, reserving the remaining 1/3 of stalk pieces. Puree mixture until smooth. Set aside. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender; about 8 minutes. Add rice and stir for 1 minute. Add wine and cook until absorbed, stirring often; about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup broth and chopped rosemary and simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often; about 4 minutes. Continue to cook for 15 minutes, adding more broth by ½ cupfuls and allowing liquid to be absorbed before adding more, stirring often. Add reserved Asparagus stalk pieces and Asparagus tips and continue cooking until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding broth as needed and stirring often; about 10 minutes longer. Stir in ½ cup Parmesan and cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top of dish.