It is Wild Asparagus Season! Some Recipe Ideas

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It is one of the eagerly awaiting times of the Croatian gourmet season – wild asparagus season! Some great recipe advice for this popular ingredient that has locals headed into the woods and fields in search of this culinary treasure. With thanks to Karin Mimica from Gastronaut (original Croatian version here).

This bushy plant with needle leaves, whose young sprouts were very well known to ancient Chinese or Greeks, has again conquered the kitchen tables of the east and west, creatively imposing its strong gastronomy character.

Asparagus belongs in the Lily family whose main habitat is in tropical and subtropical areas (such as Africa), while in our region, considering it is the northern edge of its growth, five varieties exist. Two wild and three cultivated in the open.

As a gentle and aromatic plant it goes well with various ingredients: eggs, meat and fish, rise and potatoes, pasta, cheeses… Considering its therapeutic diuretic attributes it has become an efficient part of diets combatting obesity and diabetes.

Asparagus has a low energy value where 100 grams of the edible section gives 25 kilocalories, while it’s biological value is in the rich content of vitamins and minerals, a third of them being potassium. Of the vitamins, asparagus is mostly wrought with vitamin C, with plenty of carotene (provitamin A) and all the vitamins of group B.

In its use since ancient China, 3.000 years B.C., it was sought after as a medicine against cough, ulcers and swellings, considered to reduce pain in legs and used in preparation of baths.

Now is the opportunity when this wonderful gift of spring is in season, for all lovers and all those who haven’t tasted it yet, to enrich their menu with delicacies made from asparagus, adding to the cleansing of the organism and returning to physical form after the winter lull.

Asparagus omelette (appetizer)
A specialty of Kvarner cuisine
Ingredients (for 4 persons):
2 bundles of wild asparagus
100 g of cleaned scampi tails
50 g prosciutto
8 eggs
1 small truffle

Description: Stew cleaned asparagus on oil, add scampi, after a few minutes add thinly sliced prosciutto. Fry for a bit more and cover with mixed eggs and salt. In the end grate truffle.
Specific preparation of this meal can be found at:
MALI RAJ restaurant, Opatija

Wild asparagus omelette in dough basket (appetizer)
Istrian cuisine speciality

250 g of wild asparagus
4 eggs
0.25 l of olive oil
250 g divljih šparoga, 4 jaja, sol, papar, 0.25 dl maslinova ulja

Description: Chop soft part of washed wild asparagus into tiny pieces of 3 cm in length. Stew asparagus in olive oil on light fire until they soften, add salt and pepper, then add mixed eggs and stir. When the eggs are done take off fire and serve warm in a dough basket. Decorate.
Specific preparation of this meal can be found at:
VODNJANKA restaurant, Vodnjan

Octopus eggs (warm appetizer)

Specialty of creative cuisine
Adriatic squid
Octopus limbs
Bijou mustard
Black and red caviar

Description: The full name of this meal is Octopus eggs on riga and wild asparagus nest. Besides the aesthetic experience it is adorned by fresh ingredients and minimal processing to preserve freshness. Adriatic squid is stuffed with octopus limbs and lightly boiled. Green sauce is made on the base of Bijou mustard and chives. Asparagus is also stewed and represent the nest. When the squid is sliced open the limb circles represent eggs. Everything is additionally decorated with black and red caviar pearls.

Specific preparation of this meal can be found at:
PLAVI PODRUM restaurant, Volosko

Puff pastry roll (warm appetizer)

Specialty of creative kitchen
Ingredients (for 4 persons):
150 g puff pastry
1 egg
60 g sheep curd
40 g prosciutto
40 g black olives
200 g tomato
150 g zucchini or wild asparagus
0.05 l olive oil

Description: puff pastry is rolled and sliced into four equal rectangles. Olives and prosciutto are thinly sliced and mixed with sheep curd. The mixture is used to form four small cylinders and placed in the middle of the rectangle. Pastry edges are smear with egg yolk. Fold, pressing the edges with a fork. The rolls are smeared with egg yolk and placed in a pre-heated oven. Bake at 230 C for 7 minutes. In the meantime prepare “konkase.” Slice tomatoes and zucchini into squares (if in season, use two asparagus instead of zucchini) and sauté – fry quickly on olive oil. Salt slightly and add sliced basil. When serving place a spoon of “konkase” on the plate and lay roll on it.
Specific preparation of this meal can be found at:
KUKURIKU restaurant, Kastav

Asparagus, wild garlic and scampi risotto (main dish)

International cuisine specialty
Ingredients (for 4 persons):
400g wild asparagus
320 g rice
280 g scampi (cleaned)
1 l scampi bouillon
80 g wild garlic
olive oil
white wine
Grana Padano cheese

Description: Fry scampi in olive oil. Add spices and place aside. Use the same oil to glaze rice. Add thinly sliced garlic and cover with a bit of wine. When the wine is reduced cover with bouillon with constant stirring. When the rice is ready, add asparagus broken into smaller pieces, 2-3 cm, without the hard part and add fried scampi meat. Cook with constant stirring until the rice is cooked (this risotto uses a paste of mixed boiled wild garlic, 1-2 minutes before end of cooking). Finally, add grated cheese and butter. Optionally use olive oil instead.

Embrace of red mullet, monkfish and scampi on yellow polenta placenta (warm appetizer)

Specialty of creative cuisine

Mullet filet
Cleaned scampi tail
Monkfish filet
Asparagus sauce

Description: Filet the mullet and monkfish, use cleaned tail meat from scampi. Roll mullet filet around it. Briefly fry fish. Slice piece of polenta and also fry briefly. On a heated plate lay several spoons of sauce from garden and wild asparagus (dense soup) and lay on it: polenta, piece of fried monkfish, rolled mullet and scampi and cover everything with two boiled stalks of wild asparagus. For decoration add boiled carrot and broccoli.

Specific preparation of this meal can be found at:
PLAVI PODRUM restaurant, Volosko

Grouper Bevanda (main dish)

Speciality of creative cuisine
Fresh grouper
Fresh wild asparagus
Flower salts
Istrian Malvasia wine
Extra virgin olive oil

Description: Filet of Adriatic grouper grilled with sautéed wild asparagus, potato cream and reduced Istrian Malvasia sauce
Boil potato, mix with sweet cream and a bit of water it was cooked in to get a mousse. Blanche asparagus. Filet grouper and grill.
Malvasia wine boil with a bit of sugar and pour over grouper and asparagus.

Specific preparation of this meal can be found at:
BEVANDA restaurant, Opatija

Boiled sea bass with asparagus (main dish)
Mediterranean cuisine specialty

1 kg sea bass
450 g asparagus
50 g celery and carrot bouillon
1 leek
20 g flour
20 g butter
Fish soup
Olive oil

Description: Clean fish with slice from head to tail. Wash and dry it, salt inside and outside, place inside bundle of fresh basil and marjoram. Clean asparagus, cut tops into rings and boil in vegetable, oil, butter and thinly sliced leek bouillon. Fish, bouillon and asparagus place in fish cooking bowl. Cover with fish soup, salt, place lid and leave to cook for 25 minutes. Remove sea bass and keep it warm. Mix vegetable soup it was cooked in, place on fire and make denser with butter and flour. Boil briefly. Add salt and pepper the resulting sauce, pour into elliptical pan, place on it fish, decorate with fried asparagus tips and parsley.
Specific preparation of this meal can be found at:

LA PERLA restaurant, Rovinj

Asparagus salad

Kvarner cuisine specialty
Ingredients (for 6 persons):
1 kg of asparagus
2 eggs
Olive oil
1 lemon

Description: Rips tips off asparagus, cook them (al dente) and cool. Boil eggs – hard. Spice asparagus with oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Place on them slices of hard boiled eggs.
Recipe origin: Njivice, Krk Island

Asparagus lasagne (appetizer)

International cuisine specialty
350 g of narrow lasagne
700 g asparagus
30 g flour
Half a lemon
Vegetable soup
2 tomatoes (garnish)
Dukat fresh Zagreb cheese (for serving)
40 g butter
Virgin olive oil

Description: Wash asparagus, remove lower white part, cook 20 minutes in tall pot, connected into bundle. Make sure only the lower, hard part of asparagus is in water. Sift boiled asparagus, filter cooking water and boil again.
Chop up asparagus with blender. Add 5 ladles to glass of milk, let boil, reduce fire and allow to boil for 5 more minutes, stir in butter and flour near the end.
Boil pasta al dente in asparagus soup, add water if necessary. Drain pasta and cover with asparagus cream. Sprinkle with grated lemon peel, add pepper, decorate with chopped raw potatoes and pieces of fresh cheese.

Fuži pasta the shepherd way (appetizer)

Istrian cuisine specialty
Ingredients (for 2 persons):
200 g wild asparagus
100 g fresh common mushrooms
100 g Istrian prosciutto
0.06 l olive oil
100 g onions
Garlic clove
Sliced parsley
0,05 l dry white wine
0,1 l meat bouillon
Salt and pepper as needed
200 g homemade fuži pasta

Description: Stew onion on olive oil until it withers. Add prosciutto slice into cubes, wild asparagus, common mushrooms, salt, pepper, garlic. Lightly stew for 10 minutes. Add white wine, meat bouillon and parsley. Combine with cooked fuži, turn two to three times in pan and serve as warm appetizer.

Specific preparation of this meal can be found at:
RAPČANKA restaurant, Rabac

Asparagus ravioli (warm appetizer)
Istrian cuisine specialty
Ingredients (for 4 persons):
400 g flour
2 eggs
200 g fresh sheep cheese
30 g grated hard sheep cheese
20 g fresh sheep cheese
200 g asparagus
Olive oil
Béchamel sauce or cooking cream
Salt per taste

Description: With flour, one egg, salt and water knead smooth dough. Stretch thinly and smear with mixed egg and cut into stripes. Make stuffing by mixing 2 eggs and three types of cheeses. Place a spoon of stuffing into each stripe and fold, pinching edges with cup or special ravioli mould to get a crescent shape. Boil ravioli briefly in salted boiling water. Make sauce by boiling asparagus in salted water and mixed with béchamel sauce or cooking cream with olive oil. Cover warm ravioli with sauce and serve.

Specific preparation of this meal can be found at:
VODNJANKA restaurant, Vodnjan


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