My Messinia

The wild side of the asparagus in an omelette

DSC_0030sGrowing up in Spain the most common and regular use of asparagus in our home was in a typical refreshing salad consisting of cultivated white asparagus, canned tuna chunks, boiled eggs, tomatoes and green olives on a bed of lettuce sprinkled with olive oil. Then I took a long break from the asparagus shoots and only when I moved to the countryside in Messinia I realised that there included it once again in my menu as I discovered the “wild side” to asparagus. First I saw in springtime, on my way to Kalamata, being sold by street venders. Soon I learned to forage for it in fields and close to fences, in ditches with weeds and bramble, mixed in and hard to see.DSC_0183psotvDSC_0277 2sDSC_0119psotv

Wild asparagus has been harvested in Greece for centuries. The plant was revered by the ancient Greeks and Romans and was used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.  During the spring, the markets are filled with bundles of Wild asparagus. The classic Greek use for wild asparagus is paired with farm fresh eggs in a springtime omelet.

Ingredients

  • 8-9 thin asparagus spears or 5-6 thicker ones trim ends by bending them)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • freshly ground pepper
  • thick kosher saltDSC_0069

Instructions

  • In a small pot boil the asparagus for 5 minutes. Drain
  • In a small pan (about 8 inch diameter) warm up the olive oil on low heat
  • Once hot sauté the asparagus for 1-2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl whip the eggs with the milk and a dash of salt.
  • Pour the egg mixture in the pan , having the egg settle around the asparagus spears.
  • Cook until the eggs starts solidifying, lifting up the sides so that the egg in the middle moves to the sides.
  • Turn over the omelet carefully and cook for another minute.
  • Remove from pan. Add some freshly ground pepper and some think salt if needed.
  • You can fold it, although here in Greece we often serve it open.DSC_0034

Applications 

Wild asparagus can be used like its common counterpart, prepared by snapping off the bottoms at their natural breaking or bending point. Wild asparagus is best showcased raw or briefly cooked; it can be sautéed, steamed, boiled, baked and fried. Spring ingredients such as morel mushrooms, green garlic, wild ramps, fennel, leeks, young lettuces and citruses are ideal pairings. Other complimentary ingredients include aged nutty cheeses such as pecorino and parmesan, bacon, prosciutto, cream, eggs, butter, shallots, herbs such as thyme, basil and chervil, yeasty breads like sourdough and wheat and grains such as arborio rice and quinoa. Store Wild asparagus in the refrigerator upright in an inch of water and lightly covered or alternately with the ends wrapped in wet paper towel, for up to three days.DSC_0022s

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