Thanks to a really wet autumn and winter this year we have an unusually rich harvest this season. Right now, wild asparagus has started growing and both red and white mushrooms are still popping up out of the ground.
This is very unusual but a great delight. Right now we have an abundance of mushrooms and asparagus dishes and have also made preserves to enjoy at a later date. You get plenty of exercise at the same time while out picking, well at least my husband does, I take care of the preparation and cooking of the goodies.
Some may think that wild asparagus is slightly bitter, but the bitterness can be easily removed by soaking them in plenty of cold water for a few hours. Personally, I like the strong taste and use them in all dishes where vegetables are included.
Traditionally, here in Cyprus you make the same dish with the mushrooms as with the asparagus. They are cut into pieces and fried in a pan with onion, some garlic, salt and pepper. Once cooked through whisk a couple of eggs and poor it over the ingredients in the pan, stir until set over low heat. Serve with some seasonal salad and fresh bread.
My favourite dish is similar but now that everything is growing at the same time I mix both the mushrooms and asparagus in my pan. When it is almost finished I add some hefty spoons of a good creamy yogurt, preferably from sheep/goat milk instead of eggs. It should not boil but just warm through. It’s almost like a stew but without flour, very tasty and very nutritious.
If you want something even more satisfying, you can mix in some diced chicken or meat, but refrain from scrambled eggs and instead serve with rice or pasta.
Asparagus is a very nutritious vegetable, full of vitamins and minerals, so take the opportunity while the season lasts.
If you buy them from the markets instead of picking them yourself you will need to “break cleanse” i.e. remove the woody part of the stem. Grab the asparagus and gently bend it until it breaks. Start from the top of the head and work your way down and once the stem becomes hard to break that is the part you discard. Though I myself make a soup from the stems, which I strain through or I make a juice using a juicing machine, for all the nutrition it contains, though it is somewhat woody in taste (I do not like to waste, but that’s me).
To read more about nature’s pantry, click here.