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Around this time of year, I get so excited buying fresh asparagus. The low price is hard to ignore and the beautiful stalks are hard to pass up. So I find myself including this delicious vegetable in my weekly menu as often as I can. I am sure my guys are probably sick of it, but I haven’t heard any negative outbursts (yet).
I try to offer varieties to my family ranging from side dishes to main dishes. Here are some examples of how I have cooked asparagus: blanched them and served with hollandaise sauce; grilled with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil; roasted with red bell pepper and served with goat cheese; stir-fried with shrimp; sautéd them for omelets; cooked them in breakfast strata; and turned them into smooth, creamy soup. You get the idea on how versatile this green stalk can be.
The big problem I have with asparagus is the tougher ends. How many pounds have we wasted throwing them away? One solution is to use them in your compost pile—that’s recycling at its best. Or, another tasty solution is turning those unwanted parts into wonderfully nutritious stock.
I have a few vegetarian friends, so this is perfect to use in recipes that ask for vegetable stock. You can also use this stock in place of any other protein-flavored stock.
4 cups asparagus ends
8 cups water
1 small onion, quartered
6 parsley sprigs
1 tsp. black peppercorns
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim off any impurities that rise to the top. Turn heat down to low and cover with lid. Simmer for an hour. Remove from heat and strain. Cool completely before storing. Keep in a refrigerator for two weeks or in a freezer for up to six months.
Makes about 2 quarts.