If there is one thing I hate it is wasting food. Anytime you waste food is like emptying your wallet into the trash. Often with produce you have parts of the fruit or vegetable you are not going to eat. I will never eat an apple core or the peel of an orange or outer layers of an onion. What about the ends of asparagus? Those woody ends that either end up in the trash or at least hopefully in your compost pile. Is there a better fate for them? Should I try to choke them down? I think they are definitely usable in a way that is delicious and will keep you from spending an hour flossing asparagus strains out of your teeth. Make soup.
This past week I saved up about 40 or so ends from 2 bunches of asparagus I purchased. Then got out pot, covered them completely with water and boiled them until they were the mush you see in the picture below. I also had another secret ingredient up my sleeve. In the theme of using discarded “waste” I threw a couple rinds of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that I got at Whole Foods on the cheap. This would infuse the flavor of the cheese into the stock.
While it may not look pretty or tasty, the liquid that was left behind after I turned the ends into mush only a baby could appreciate was a flavorful asparagus stock that was little green in color.
Once the stock was made, I cooked about 3 peeled and sliced Russet potatoes. Although I wish I had some Yukon Gold on hand as I like their butteriness (it’s my word!) in soups. All that was left was to season and cook the potatoes until done. As for the seasoning I used kosher salt and freshly ground Grains of Paradise or alligator pepper. Grains of Paradise has a more mild, sweet bite than your standard black pepper. I really like it in soups. You could also use white pepper or maybe some smoked peppercorns to add a bit of smokey flavor to the soup. I pulled out my immersion blender to blend it up but not without leaving some chunks of potatoes. If you like serve it with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. My 5-year daughter loved the soup and she doesn’t like asparagus.
Asparagus Ends Soup
- 30-40 asparagus ends about 2 inches a piece
- 3-4 medium sized Russset potatoes or 4-6 Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cubed
- 1-2 Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
Place asparagus ends and Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds into a pot. Cover with at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer. Cook until the asparagus can be mashed with a potato masher about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Strain out the ends and rinds through a mesh strainer.
Add the potatoes. Bring back to a boil. Then simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Blend with an immersion blender until completely smooth or leave some chunks.
Season with salt and pepper.