Yesterday the Farmer’s Market in Grinnell opened for the summer; they sell a modest assortment of vegetables and baked goods along with creepy blankets and soy-based candles. Sojourn Farms, which is based in Brooklyn, IA, was selling both purple and green asparagus at their stand for $3 a bunch. Asparagus is their specialty, so I didn’t mind the price so much. I don’t think that there’s very much of a difference between green and purple asparagus other than regionality: French asparagus is purple while American asparagus is green, s’all.
Since I work during dinnertime, I figured I’d make something that wouldn’t get all weird sitting in the fridge: soup! I’ve never been a big soup-maker, but maybe that’s something that should change. I bought purple asparagus at the market, but the color seemed to shrug off during boiling. Ah, well. I have another half of a bunch that I can roast or something.
The matter of seasoning was a tough one. I had used leftover pho stock, so it was already infused with fish sauce, star anise and other pho spices. But even then it was missing something. I dug around in my bootleg spice rack and tried a whole bunch until something stuck. Sage seemed like a pretty weird thing to add, but it imparted a really interesting and deep smokishness to the soup, which I really didn’t expect. Besides that, I ground a while bunch of black pepper into it. The soup ended up being a really nice mixture of refreshing and filling; a great meal for a chilly spring afternoon.
Asparagus and Potato Soup
- Half a bunch of asparagus (color doesn’t matter a whit)
- Three or four potatoes, diced
- Two to three cups of chicken stock
- Sage, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste (I didn’t use salt, but if you’re using regular chicken stock you might want to add it.)
Snap off the ends of the asparagus and discard them. Chop up the asparagus into manageable pieces and throw them into a pot with the chicken stock and potatoes. Have it all boil until the potatoes are cooked through. Puree everything in a blender. Season accordingly.