Cooking at the 11th hour when you’ve committed to doing something special is no fun. Well, actually, it creates a challenge of sort–the type that causees me to snap at any one around me (at least in the physical), hit the “decline” button on my phone and make drinks as I go…
I hate that. Just too much pressure especially in a week where so many fabulous things have taken precedence.
The committed cooking I speak of is this month’s 5 Star Makeover hosted by Natasha and Lazaro, mi fellow Cubano. It’s pretty wonderful being part of a talented group of bloggers and cooks that enjoy collaborating on a project. In this case, a monthly ingredient or theme to cook with or about.
For April, the duo decided to task us with white asparagus. Fantastic! I grew up loooooving green asparagus soup—Campbell’s asparagus soup, at that! Yes, I know, how sacrilegious. But, the truth of the matter was that mami placated us (and still does) in every way fathomable and if there was anything she figured out we loved in the way of food, she indulged us. For me, it was that soup and split pea potaje (which I really need to share with you all).
White asparagus, the fancier of the two variety if you let a Frenchman or woman tell you, grows underground which allows it to avoid the photosynthesis process, hence it’s pale color. In contrast to green asparagus, it’s much smoother though it bears about the same thickness. Asparagus in general is in season right now and provides a great source of Vitamin B and iron, both of which I’m convinced I need boat loads of.
A lot of us in the group had a hard time finding the pretty stalk and truthfully, I too scoured around looking for it until I happened to be in the mediocre farmers’ market at bird’s eye view from my place. I walked in and there it was— front and center.
Having picked up a thick bulk with a few other ingredients only 4 hours ago (no lie), I didn’t have any time at all to be creative, let a alone design a unique and superbly distinctive dish as I’m sure most of the group has done. Based on the intra-conversations, the inspirations and final products some of the crew have come up with are drool-worthy and plain smart.
I went the easy route, I admit. I made this soup, though it’s green-looking, because I was inspired by the lovely sunshine emitted after the treacherous storms most of the Southeast suffered last night. I sat on my patio this morning and worked for a few hours but simply kept drifting to the Caribbean islands and Mexico.
I have a serious love affair with both.
On a press trip to Cabo some time ago, I had the pleasure of tearing up lunch at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, an ocean front 5-star resort. Our first or 2nd course was this amazing and straight up sexalicious chilled asparagus soup with chunks of crab and shrimp. I kindly requested one sans the seafood and still enjoyed everything about it. The texture, the chill factor, the combination of flavors, the vibrant color and ultimately the powerhouse heat from chiles.
That soup spoke so much to me that I printed and framed it. It now hangs in my kitchen. And, I’ve given a few away. Needless to say, I look at it every day and somehow it quickly triggers a wildly vivid memory of sitting at the end of the linen cloth table. It was served in a tall martini glass which made it all the sexier.
My kind of action. In Mexico, beachside, nonetheless.
In my furry of what I was going to make today, I made eye contact with the framed image and went to work. I tweaked the recipe which was generously shared by the non-English speaking chef at the restaurant.
This is my version, with a touch of ginger, grilled shrimp and swirled in chile oil — extra heat for the man friend that sipped it like it was his favorite beer.
It was successful and I’d make it over and over again. But I didn’t eat the shrimp! You know it, though! 😉 XO.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
Follow the sexy & delicious fun on
Chilled White Asparagus & Ginger Soup W/Grilled Shrimp
- 2 cups white asparagus
- 1 cup spinach
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- juice from 1 squeezed lime
- 2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 4 shrimp
- 1 serrano chile, seeded
- 3 sprigs Thyme, or 1.5 tsp.
- 1/4 cup water from boiled asparagus
- 1 tsp. butter
- pinch of chile oil*
- s/p to taste
Boil asparagus in salted water until tender. In food processor, add asparagus, spinach, ginger, thyme, olive oil, lime juice, water from boiled asparagus and salt and pepper. On medium to high speed, blend or liquify until all ingredients are well combine and soup is smooth with a bit of texture. Chill for 30-45 minutes.
While soup is chilling, cut 1 asparagus stalk into 1/2″ piece and grill with shrimp on stovetop grill until cooked using butter. Serve soup in tall or short martini glass. Add grilled pieces of asparagus and hang shrimp on rim of glass. For extra heat and garnish, sprinkle 2-3 dots of chile or sesame oil.*