5 Mar 2016

Foraging for Wild Asparagus

Wild asparagus season is in full swing in Corsica right now, and a demonstration of how giving and generous nature is to man, in all of our taking for granted of it. I had spotted a few asparagus stems around the village, tentatively tempting me to indulge in a little culinary adventure.


Fresh asparagus always gets me excited for two reasons. It heralds Spring (two weeks from now!), and is an indulgent delicacy (verging on luxury) that gracefully eases us out of the stodgy Winter veg dishes. Unlike its cultivated counterpart, wild asparagus is thin and lean! Long stems (whose tips are for picking) that delicately sway to the breeze in a semi-shaded, well-drained environment. I find them scattered at the feet of old olive trees.


Yesterday morning, with little Tickle in tow, and 'armed' with a paring knife, small gratin dish and camera, I went pottering about my immediate surroundings, on the hunt for wild asparagus. Oh, I did get distracted on the way there and back by those other tangible signs of Spring, purple daisy-like ground flowers that go by the name of Anemone stellata.


Then I spotted what looked like Morels. However not being a mycologist and not being able to ascertain whether those morels were safe and edible - or toxic - I resisted the temptation of picking them! Folks, the 'Better safe than sorry' idiom befits wild mushroom foraging to a cap, especially if you are no specialist!


Creamy Pasta Served with Wild Asparagus

Back home, I threw together a quick and easy lunch out of leftover plain pasta, simply plunged in boiling water and a dash of olive oil for a couple of minutes, then tossed in double cream, to which were added a small tin of sliced button mushrooms (my safe option to those unacquainted wild varieties out there!), the juice of half a lemon from Nice (+ a sprinkle of grated peel), salt, pepper and chopped chives. In a separate pan, I blanched the asparagus tips for five minutes, drained them and scattered them over the plated pasta. It was an ordinary meal with a little extra thrown into it, thanks to the fragrant, natural and organic asparagus that had been picked from the wild!

(pict source)

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