Today I will focus on foraging for wild asparagus. You know that healthy green plant that tastes a bit bitter, but if you cook it in a nice recipe it turns into a super delicious meal?
Foraging has always been a part of life when growing up in Slovenia, but I never really understood that it’s not such a common or popular pastime across the world. There are certain countries where foraging wild plants is part of their culture, but in the majority of the countries this is a specialty hobby that is practiced only by people who train in this activity.
I learned to appreciate the foraging culture only in my late 20s, early 30s! I guess wisdom does improve with age 🙂
Foraging for wild asparagus
Wild asparagus grows in the coastal area of Slovenia and in the Karst region. Many locals go foraging for this wild edible plant, as it is highly nutritious and super healthy. The species I am referring here is the Mediterranean wild species of asparagus.
Asparagus acutifolius is the more rare variety of wild asparagus which grows in the Mediterranean climate. Its sprouts are thin and dark red or brown in colour. This is a different variety to Asparagus officinalis, which has thicker sprouts of green and white colour, and is commonly grown by producers.
Where to find wild asparagus – Asparagus acutifolius
You can find it growing in rocky areas, on the edges of forests and where there’s lots of bushes growing. They like partial shade and warm weather. The maximum altitude they grow on is 300 metres above sea level.
How to find and recognise wild asparagus
The asparagus plant is of silver green colour and it has spikes. It looks like a small bush and between February to May you will see dark red or brown sprouts popping up.
Hunt for wild asparagus
Wild asparagus reaches on average 30–70 centimetres (12–28 in) of height. Be careful when hunting for wild asparagus, as the Mediterranean version of wild asparagus has needle-like leaves.
Foraging for wild asparagus is limited in Slovenia so that the plant is preserved in the wild. You can forage up to a maximum of 1 kilogram of sprouts per person. Let’s keep it growing in the wild for future generations!
Watch a video of me foraging wild asparagus on the coast of Slovenia, near Ankaran. And also there is a step by step recipe for Wild Asparagus Frittata, thanks to our friend Neđo who is a great chef!
We had so much fun filming the making of frittata 😀
Wild asparagus is highly nutritious and contains a lot of folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E and Beta carotene. It cleanses your body as it is a diuretic and – your kidneys and liver will be grateful. It is used in traditional medicine to treat kidney disorders.
Asparagus Frittata Recipe
Serves 4 people
- Wild asparagus (approx. 20 sprouts)
- a small block of Pancetta (optional)
- 1 Onion
- 1 Garlic
- 6 Eggs
- Dried parsley
- Horseradish sauce
- Sour cream
Save 8 sprouts for decoration at the end.
Separate egg yolks from egg whites and whip the egg whites until you get a fluffy texture. Then slowly mix in the egg yolks. Add turmeric, dried parsley, polenta and grated parmigiano and mix everything together.
Cut onions, garlic, wild asparagus and pancetta into small pieces.
Fry the onion and garlic until they turn soft and add some salt and pepper. Then add wild asparagus and let it fry for a few minutes. Lastly add the pancetta to the mix.
Pour the egg mix into the pan with wild asparagus and pancetta, and cover it for a few minutes.
Take the uncut sprouts and decorate the frittata by placing them on top. Add some grated parmigiano on top, spread it evenly.
Use an extra plate to flip the frittata and fry on the other side.
Mix some sour cream, horseradish sauce, and hummus to use as topping. Spread the mixture on top of frittata in the shape of stripes.
What is your favourite way of cooking wild asparagus?
Do you also forage for wild asparagus?
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