Method.—Cut off the heads of the asparagus and put them aside, trim the stalks, cut them and the onion and celery into small pieces. Melt the butter in a stewpan and fry asparagus, celery and onion for 15 minutes, but slowly, so as not to brown them at all. Sprinkle in the cornflour or flour, let it cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then add the stock, milk, bouquet-garni, salt and pepper, and cook slowly for about 40 minutes. Pass through a fine sieve, return the soup to the stewpan, and stir until it boils. Have ready a small saucepan of boiling water, put in a little salt and the asparagus points, and cook for 10 or 15 minutes. Let the soup cool slightly, beat the yolks of the eggs and the cream together, pour them into the soup and stir until it thickens, taking care that the mixture does not boil, or the eggs will curdle. Put the asparagus points in the tureen, and pour in the soup.
Time.—1¼ to 1½ hours. Average Cost, 2s. 9d. to 3s. 6d., exclusive of stock. Seasonable from March to July, but in full season in May, June and July. Sufficient for 6 persons.
Asparagus (Fr.: Asperge).—A favourite culinary vegetable belonging to a genus of plants of the order Liliaceae. It is indigenous to Britain, and grows extensively in the southern steppes of Russia, in Poland, and in Greece, and was used as a vegetable by the Romans. The asparagus is raised from seed, and the young shoots of the plant only are used for the table. It possesses valuable diuretic properties.
130.—PURÉE OF ASPARAGUS. (Fr.—Purée d'Asperges.) (Another Method.)
Ingredients.—2 pints of white second stock or water, 1 pint of milk, 50 heads of asparagus, 1 lb. of spinach, 1 oz. of butter, 1 oz. of flour 2 tablespoonfuls of cream, salt and pepper.
Method.—Cut off the points of the asparagus and put them aside, trim the stalks and cut them into small pieces; wash and pick the spinach. Put the stock or water into a stewpan, and when it boils add the asparagus and spinach, and cook until tender (about 40 minutes), then rub through a fine sieve. Have ready a small saucepan of boiling water, put in a little salt and the asparagus points, and cook for 10 or 15 minutes. Melt the butter in the stewpan, sprinkle in the flour, add the milk and stir until it boils, then put in the stock and purée of asparagus and spinach, salt and pepper to taste, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Place the asparagus points into the tureen, add the cream and necessary seasoning to the soup, and serve.
Time.—1 to 1½ hours. Average Cost, 2s. 6d. to 3s., exclusive of stock. Seasonable from March to July. Sufficient for 6 persons.