When I lived in the US, I used trim asparagus by bending the base until it snapped. This was an excellent way to remove the fibrous part of the stalk while leaving the tender part behind. But in Japan, where good asparagus can cost up to $2 a stalk, I've learned to peel my asparagus.
It turns out that the tough part of the stalk is the fibrous skin, so by using a vegetable peeler to remove it, you can expose the crisp, fleshy core underneath and enjoy it as well. Still, when preparing a lot of asparagus (like I did last week for my Asparagus, Egg, and Anchovy Salad), you're left with a lot of peels (about 15% of the total weight),
That's how I came up with this easy way to turn the trimmings into this rich, velvety soup. To make it easy, I use cooked rice or potatoes to thicken it, and the stringy peels can be pulverized into silky smooth soup with the help of a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 100 grams leek thinly sliced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 100 grams cooked rice
- 50 grams asparagus peels
- ½ cup cream
- Salt to taste
- Add the butter and leeks to a pot and sauté over medium heat until they start to brown.
- Add the chicken stock and cooked rice or potatoes and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the asparagus peels and simmer the mixture while stirring for 2 minutes.
- Let the soup cool a little (I usually just put the pot in a bowl of cold water and stir it for about a minute). It doesn’t need to be cold, but you want to be able to dip a finger in the soup without burning yourself.
- Pour the asparagus soup mixture into a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix and puree the soup until it’s smooth the fibers in the skin are no longer noticeable. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you can do this with a regular one or a stick blender, but you will want to pass the soup through a fine-mesh sieve, or your soup will be gritty.
- Return the soup to the pot. Reheat and stir in the cream, and adjust the salt to taste.