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Crab and Asparagus Soup

from Quick & Easy Vietnamese by Nancie McDermott
Crab and Asparagus Soup

1/2 pound fresh asparagus
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 egg, well beaten
1/4 pound cooked lump crabmeat, or one 6-ounce can, drained (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion

Serves 4

This and many other
wonderful recipes may be found in
Quick & Easy Vietnamese
by Nancie McDermott from Chronicle Books


This lovely soup is a French colonial creation that showcases asparagus in a standard Chinese-style egg-flower soup. The original version was made with canned asparagus, but you can enjoy the vivid green color and flavor of fresh asparagus, known in Vietnam as mang toy, or "Western bamboo." To prepare with canned asparagus (green or white), drain, cut into 1-inch lengths, and add at the end of cooking, just before the egg. I sometimes like to use zucchini, edamame beans (fresh soybeans), baby spinach leaves, or frozen peas in place of asparagus. Canned crabmeat works nicely in this soup, making it an everyday dish.

Trim the asparagus, breaking off and discarding the base of each stalk about here the bright green color fades. Cut each stalk crosswise diagonally into 1 inch pieces, but leave the beautiful tips intact. (You should have about 2 cups.)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for 1 minute, and then add the asparagus, shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until the shallots and garlic are fragrant and the asparagus is shiny and bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water, stirring it to make a thin, smooth paste. Add it to the soup. Stir the soup well and drizzle in the beaten egg, letting it swirl to form lacy shreds in the hot broth. Add the crabmeat and stir well. Sprinkle in the green onion, remove the soup from the heat, and serve hot or warm.

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