We sent out this simple asparagus chowder recipe as a little bonus in our newsletter a few years ago. Since then, it’s become a total spring staple for us, and we cook it almost every time there’s good asparagus around. It also turned out to be a crowd pleaser, since we heard back from a lot of people who made and loved it (those are the best emails to get, always). This spring, while making the chowder yet again, we realized that we should probably publish it here and make it readily accessible to everyone at all times :)
This delicate chowder is a great dish for showcasing asparagus – there’s few ingredients, so the tender, green qualities of asparagus can really shine. The recipe comes together so quickly, too (you can watch the whole process in our Instagram stories later today)! The key here is not to overcook the asparagus, since it’s at its best when bright green and snappy. Otherwise, it turns into something brown, mushy, and generally unappealing. It’s barely cooked in this recipe – just quickly sautéed with some lemon juice and flash blanched in broth and coconut milk.
This recipe definitely allows for all kinds of improvisation with spring produce. You can use any tender spring greens that you can find this time of year, as well as herbs – chives with their pretty blossoms, basil, and mint all work great here. You can swap in peas or fava beans for some of the corn or ramps for some of the onion. Have fun with the toppings, too. An assertive flavored oil like chili oil would be great, but a drizzle of good quality olive oil is always delicious as well. Something crunchy like toasted pumpkin seeds or croutons would be heavenly on top, and lots of herbs, always. Hope you’ll give this one a try :)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or other cooking oil of choice
- 1 teaspoon cumin - freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon coriander - freshly ground
- 1 large yellow onion - chopped
- sea salt - to taste
- kernels from 2 ears of sweet corn or about 2 cups frozen and thawed corn
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch asparagus - tough ends cut off, sliced into bite-size pieces
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 13.5 oz can unsweetened canned coconut milk
- 1½ cups vegetable broth or water
- 4 cups spring greens, such as spinach, arugula, watercress, etc.
- handful of fresh basil or mint leaves (optional)
- chives/chive blossoms - for garnish (optional)
- chili oil, basil oil or olive oil - for garnish (optional)
- Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the cumin, coriander, onion and a few pinches of salt, sauté for 5 minutes. Add the corn, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes.
- Add the asparagus and garlic and sauté until the asparagus is bright green, for about 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and let it absorb for a minute. Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth/water and bring to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the greens to wilt them.
- Transfer about half of the soup to an upright blender along with the basil/mint, if using, and blend until creamy. Return the blended mixture back to the soup pot and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve garnished with chives and chive blossoms, a drizzle of oil or any other desired toppings.