Enjoying asparagus from my garden is a special treat this time of year and I have been enjoying it in many recipes. I have been gardening for many years now and tried my hand at asparagus about 15 years ago. I love asparagus and it is especially tasty right out of the garden!
Growing asparagus is easy as long as you have some patience and plant it well. Asparagus is planted by the root, or crown. You can plant a 1 year or 2 year crown. If you plant a 1 year crown you should wait 2 years to start harvesting and if you plant a 2 year crown you can start to harvest the next spring. Plant asparagus in the early spring. To plant, spread out your asparagus root, dig a 6-8 inch hole, wide enough for your the root. Then make a small mound in the middle of the bottom of the hole. spread your root over the mound. I like to cover with a handful of peat moss and then fill the hole with dirt. That’s it. Wait for it to grow! Once established your asparagus will come back each year.
I like to plant a variety of asparagus. Martha Washington, Jersey Knight, and Purple Passion are my favorites. I planted about a dozen 4 years ago and this season so far we have been eating asparagus about twice a week for about six weeks.
Do not harvest the asparagus the first or second year after planting. Depending on the age of your root. The plants need to feed off of the first asparagus stalks the first few seasons to grow and multiply.
As a rule of thumb, I don’t pick asparagus unless it is the diameter of my pinky finger. To harvest the asparagus wait until the stalk is at least 6 inches tall and the tip is still well condensed. I don’t like the tip of the asparagus to start spreading and seeding so I pick them fairly young. Actually, cut the stalk, just below the dirt level. Do not tear, rip, or pull. A clean cut assures continuous growth. Any stalk you do not use, let grow to maturity, do not cut down and let seed. It will look weedy, but this will give you a good crop the next year. I usually mow mine down after the first fall frost. I have been told to wait til the next spring to cut the old stalks, but cutting the stalks after first frost has always worked for me.
Asparagus can be cooked many ways. You can boil it, steam it, stir-fry it, broil it, sautés it, bake or add it to other recipes. My favorite way to cook asparagus is to grill it. I put a bit of olive oil on a piece of tin foil, set the asparagus on it, add some sea salt, wrap it tight and put it on a hot grill for 10-14 minutes depending on how thick the stalk is and how tender you like it. Very deliscous!
Favorite Asparagus Recipes
Cream of Asparagus and Potato Soup
In the mid 1980’s I had the best Cream of Asparagus soup ever at a restaurant in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I can’t remember the name and have not found the place again but it had a barn or country theme and the food was amazing. I have tried recreating the soup recipe over the years trying several asparagus soup recipes and after a lot of trial and error this is what I have come up with! It is a rich soup so I only make it once each season! I like to serve with fresh homemade bread. I would say this makes 4 good size bowls of soup.
- 2 bunches of asparagus, (or about 20 good size stalks). Cut in bite size pieces.
- 1 large potato. Peel and chop into small pieces.
- 2 Tablespoons butter.
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed.
- 1/2 medium sized onion.
- 32 ounces chicken broth.
- 1 1/4 cup dry white wine.
- 1/2 cup half and half.
- 2 Tbs lemon juice. (Optional)
- Fresh ground pepper.
For Topping Individual Bowls
- 1-2 strips bacon, crisp and crumbled per each serving.
- 2 Tbs thinly shredded Romano or Parmesan Cheese per serving.
- Lemon cut in wedges.
- A few sprigs of asparagus cut in bite size pieces pie serving.
- Sauté the onions and garlic in butter until the onions are translucent. About 3-4 minutes.
- Add the asparagus (you can save some of the asparagus aside for garnishing).
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, just enough to blend with the other ingredients.
- Add the wine, cook on medium for about 5 minutes to blend flavors. Do not boil.
- Add the chicken broth and the potato.
- Bring to just under a boil.
- Cover and simmer until potatoes and asparagus are tender and easy to mash. Do not boil,
- Remove from heat.
- Cool just enough so you can transfer mixture to a blender and puree.
- Return to stove and simmer on low uncovered, until soup is to desired thickness. Do not boil.
- Add half and half, lemon juice, and fresh pepper. (I prefer the soup without the lemon juice and I add it later, my husband prefers it with the juice and adds more later.)
- Serve in individual bowls with bacon, cheese, asparagus and lemon garnish.
Ham & Swiss Asparagus Quiche
I am not sure where I found this asparagus recipe, but over the years I have adjusted this and that and made it into a much smaller recipe than originally and added ideas from other recipes. It is a filling and satisfying meal. Originally the recipe is made with ham, Swiss cheese and Asparagus. Over the years I have changed it and additionally add bacon and red peppers. I change it up by using whatever cheese I have on hand. It is delicious with the Swiss, but also good with a smoked gouda, English Cheddar and even Feta. It is a very versatile dish! I would think this would serve 6 people generously.
- 3 cups cut up asparagus (cut in bite size pieces).
- 1/2 lb ham, cut in cubes
- 6 slices crisp bacon, cut in small pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped red pepper
- 1/4 cup onion
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed.
- 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/3 cup milk
- 1 cup Bisquick Mix
- Ground Black Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- Grease a 9×9 baking pan,
- In the greased pan, layer 1/3 of each of the asparagus, ham, bacon, red pepper, onion, garlic, and cheese.
- Repeat with another 1/3 of each of the asparagus, ham, bacon, red pepper, onion, garlic and cheese.
- Repeat with the final 1/3 of each of the asparagus, ham, bacon, red pepper, onion, garlic and cheese.
- Mix 4 eggs until well blended.
- Add the milk and mix thoroughly.
- Add the Bisquick and mix well. The mixture will be a bit lumpy. Pour over ingredients in baking pan.
- Add black pepper to taste.
- Let settle for about 5 minutes.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden on top and well set.
- Let set about 10 minutes before serving.
I hate to see asparagus season come to an end! Of course these days I can always find some at the local grocery store, although it isn’t quite the same. I hope you enjoy the asparagus recipes!