At special Vietnamese gatherings, you will often see asparagus crab soup being served. Given that asparagus is available in Western markets, there is not reason that this soup can’t be enjoyed more often. In Vietnam, asparagus is a delicacy and more available canned than fresh.
Note that this is a delicate soup and comes together very quickly just before serving.
Asparagus Crab Soup
- 8 cups of chicken stock
- 2 lb of fresh asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch sections, set aside the heads of the asparagus
- 5 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1-2 large shallots, chopped
- 8 oz crab meat, lump and/or claw meat
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp cornstarch and water to dissolve
- 2 egg whites, lightly whipped
1. In a large pan, bring chicken stock to boil and only add the lower part of the asparagus stalk. Add 3 tbsp of fish sauce to the stock. Simmer for 20-30 minutes to intensify the asparagus flavor. This can be made ahead and refrigerated over night.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add chopped shallot. When shallot is softened, add crab meat, ground black pepper and remaining 2 tbsp fish sauce. Gently stir fry until crab meat is light brown and heated through.
3. Ten minutes before serving, add the reserved top portion of the asparagus. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and bring to a gentle boil to thicken soup.
4. Add to the gently boiling soup the crab stir-fry mixture. Take the soup off the heat. The heads of the asparagus should be a bright green, slightly firm and not overcooked.
5. Drizzle over the soup the lightly whipped egg whites and gently stir the soup. Serve immediately.