Asparagus are one of my favourite vegetables. While in Croatia, we gorged on wild asparagus, darker in colour and thinner than the cultivated cousin, and with a more intense flavour. Here in Britain, I’m enjoying the afore-mentioned cultivated asparagus. British asparagus are usually in season from May till June, but this year, they’re appearing earlier in shops and markets. I urge you to seize the opportunity while they’re here and enjoy them! Due to lack of camera and time (this is an old photo), I’m re-posting some asparagus info and recipe as an entry for the Eating with the Seasons: April. The round-up is coming shortly.
Native to Eastern Mediterranean, from where it spread around the world, asparagus plant is very thorny, with tiny, needle-like leaves. The edible part of the plant are it’s shoots.
According to Wikipedia, asparagus has been used from very early times as a vegetable and medicine, owing to its delicate flavour and diuretic properties. Interestingly, there is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes, Apicius’s third century AD De re coquinaria, Book III.
Storage and preparation
Asparagus is very perishable, so try not to keep it for too long. To prepare the shoots of wild asparagus, gently bend the shoot and then break it where it’s hard, and unbending. This part is very woody, and difficult to eat, but can be used to make asparagus stock.
How to cook asparagus
Asparagus cooks very quickly, in a few minutes really. It’s very versatile and can be steamed, boiled, stir-fried or fried or grilled until tender. Regular asparagus can even be grilled. I like it slightly al dente!
And here are the recipes. The first two are everyday, home-style Croatian recipes, while the third one is my own creation. Enjoy!