Savoring the Seasons: Hakurei turnips and asparagus, hot or cold

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For The Recorder
Published: 5/24/2016 11:55:53 AM

Last Saturday, I had a great time roaming around downtown Greenfield and chatting about locally grown food.

First, Mary Siano told me she’d tried the asparagus soup recipe from last week’s column and enjoyed it. And, I talked with another friend who said she doesn’t like “creamy” soups. I wondered if there were non-creamy and/or chilled asparagus soups. Here are two I found online. What are your favorite asparagus soup recipes?

I asked the woman staffing the Kitchen Garden booth at Greenfield Farmers Market what the white Hakurei Turnips tasted like. She said they’re like mild radishes (milder than French Breakfast radishes), and their greens are edible and quite tasty, too. I munched on a few turnips and saved the rest for this week’s take-to-work salads. I sauteed the greens with chopped onions and scrambled them into eggs for dinner Saturday night. They’re mild and would be great in any stir-fry. I understand the turnips are good roasted, too.

A downtown merchant I know commented on my column about eating violets from lawns. When he read that column, he expected me to say something about “don’t eat violets from lawns treated with fertilizers or pesticides” and I didn’t. I must confess, I hadn’t thought of that (having never fertilized or pesticided my lawn). So, please be careful and only eat violets/violet leaves from lawns that you know haven’t been treated with chemicals.

I asked Victor in the produce department at Green Fields Market if there were any more Yacon and he said they’re done for the season. I really enjoyed their crunchy, juicy sweetness and look forward to fall when they’ll be back. They’re a root that looks like sweet potatoes but tastes like a cross between jicama and apples. Check out: http://goo.gl/n9dGeC to learn more about them. Is anyone in Franklin County growing Yacon?

This week we’re eating ...

Simple Spring Asparagus Soup

http://goo.gl/YNaVhm

2 C. chopped asparagus

2 tsp. coconut butter

3 chopped shallots

C. chopped red potatoes

3 C. vegetable stock

8 pieces asparagus (halved, for garnish)

Sauté asparagus spears in of coconut butter for 30 seconds and keep aside for garnish.  Heat remaining coconut butter in deep non-stick pan, add shallots and potatoes and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 C. vegetable stock, mix well and simmer till potatoes are nearly cooked. Add asparagus, mix well and cook for a few more minutes. Cool completely. Blend mixture in mixer to smooth puree. Transfer puree back to pan, add salt, pepper and remaining vegetable stock and bring to boil. Serve hot garnished with sautéed asparagus spears.

Chilled Asparagus Soup

http://goo.gl/6jui1k

6 T. olive oil (divided, plus more for drizzling)

2 onions (medium, thinly sliced)

3 lbs. asparagus (cut into " pieces)

ground black pepper

kosher salt

4 C. low salt chicken broth

8 ozs. fresh spinach

6 asparagus spears (thin, tips removed, stalks halved crosswise, thinly sliced lengthwise)

Heat 4 T. oil in large pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add ” asparagus pieces and season with salt and pepper. Cook until asparagus is bright green and tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until asparagus is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Let mixture cool slightly. Set fine-mesh sieve over large bowl; set aside. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until very smooth. Strain through prepared sieve. Stir remaining 2 T. oil into soup; season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until cold, at least 3 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Divide asparagus tips and thinly sliced stalks among bowls; pour chilled soup over. Drizzle each with a few drops of oil.

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer for Greenfield Community College, brand promoter for Goshen-based local food company Appalachian Naturals, and writer/editor for More Than Sound. Send column suggestions and recipes to: mmcclinto@yahoo.com


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