These past few days, we see young people holding bunches of green goodness along the major cestways. This can only mean that spring has sprung (never mind the date on the calendar!) OK we have a few more cold days ahead of us, but when the wild asparagus begins showing up, the worst of winter is definitely behind us.
Did you know they were originally called “sparrow grass”? Little bundles of asparagus can be purchased along the roadside or in farmers’ markets for 20-50 kuna per bundle depending on size, quality and availability. How to prepare them, you ask? Well, first of all skinny Croatian asparagus is tinier than its American sisters – instead of a typical pinky finger dimension, get used to 1/5 th that size.
People here usually boil them gently in a shallow fry pan (covered, so the steam can do its work) and when they are soft (prick with a fork) remove them (but keep the “juice” for later, especially for Risotto).
- The traditional way to eat them is to boil them lightly, then chop them into three pieces so it is easier to eat with a fork, with farm fresh hard boiled eggs, halved, eaten like a salad with an oil and vinegar dressing (olive oil of course!). I suggest a few slices of red onion and capers for a poetic masterpiece worthy to serve any guest.
- I personally like to chop them up into smaller, 2 or 3 inch pieces and fold them into locally grown scrambled eggs. The same system applies for an omelet, but add a slice of white cheese – yummy!
- You can also chop them into tinier pieces and make Risotto with a chicken broth base and add a little fresh or sour cream and freshly grated parmesan on top.
Good fresh green vegetables are a great way to get out of the winter doldrums. The searching for asparagus is part of the fun – add an afternoon walk into your lifestyle with the ever lengthening days. Those who don’t have time to search will be glad to buy them from you, but I personally reccommend you keep them and prepare them within a day or so.
The benefits of asparagus are many – some may make you blush –
Asparagus is a natural detoxifier – think Christmas party drinking and celebrating… time for a new start :). Filled with vitamins A, C, E, and K, it helps eyes, builds immunities, it is also rich in folic acid, which is reccommended for pregnant mothers. It is a natural diuretic, helping to resolve water retension in the body. It also boosts testosterone, which may help the man in your life.
Here is a helpful link for those who love Asparagus so much that they want to plant some in their own backyards, written by my HubPages colleague, Penelope Hart.