Wild asparagus and avocado pair up in this healthy soup
Forage around and find your own produce to make this delicious soup
There’s nothing more rewarding that gathering ingredients for dinner from the land. Gardens are a great resource for fresh produce, but take that one step further and forage for your ingredients and make gathering your bounty an adventure. Asparagus is in season right now and with a few tips from the pros, you’ll be making dinner tonight with your fresh pickings.
Glenwood Springs residents Kristen and Trent Blizzard are the founders of Modern Forager, a website and blog based on finding delicious sources of wild edibles. When they are not hunting for morel and other types of mushrooms all over the country, they are picking asparagus during the springtime here in the Rockies.
“You’ll typically find asparagus during the first weeks of May when the lilacs are beginning to bud and the ditch grass is just over mid-calf,” said Kristen Blizzard.
Where should you look to find your stash of fresh, crunchy and delicious shoots? “You’ll find them prevalently along farm fences bordering irrigated pasture lands,” Trent Blizzard said. “They also grow in moist, grassy ditches and along riparian corridors. If you head to the countryside during springtime, there is a very good chance you’ll see them.”
Kristen Blizzard said to look for fresh, new shoots before they get much higher than 12 to 15 inches in height. “After this, stalks will start to branch out and go to seed. Once they begin branching they become tough and chewy and are not nearly as delicious,” Kristen Blizzard said. Keep in mind that asparagus does not do well with frost, so early season shoots will occasionally be lost to cold spring nights.
Once you have your stash of asparagus, bring it home and even eat it raw. “I think it tastes like a sugar snap pea,” Kristen Blizzard said. The Blizzards also pickle a lot of their asparagus to keep it around longer than it’s short growing season. Or they make a delicious and nutritious soup with fresh-picked asparagus and avocado.
“With only six ingredients, it’s super healthy but at the same time rich, creamy and divine. It’s a recipe adapted from the As Easy As Apple Pie website and we’ve been cooking it for years,” Kristen Blizzard said. The recipe calls for it chilled, but Trent and I prefer it warm right out of the blender, try it both ways.”
The Blizzards will bring their foraging expertise to the Eagle Mushroom and Wild Food Festival in Eagle on August 2 through 4, or follow their foraging adventures on http://www.modernforager.com. Even if you can’t find any asparagus in the wild, grocery store finds can work as well, here is the recipe.
Asparagus Avocado Soup (Serves 4)
1 pound wild asparagus (cut into 1 inch lengths)
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion (chopped)
4 cups vegetable stock
Start by cooking the onion over medium heat in the olive oil until translucent. Add the asparagus and saute for three minutes. Next, add the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes. If you have a heat resistant blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, you can transfer the soup to the blender right away (if not let cool a bit before this step). Add lemon juice and avocado and puree until creamy. You may need to do this step in two groups, as the blender is probably not large enough to fit everything in at the same time. Add a bit more stock if too thick for your liking. Garnish with herbs, sour cream, asparagus tips, sliced radish or whatever sounds good. Serve and enjoy.
The Vail Valley is kicking off the summer season with everything from barbecues and restaurant deals, white water rafting and ceremonies honoring those who fought for our freedoms.