1. Harvesting the asparagus on the slopes of Northwest Istria
Asparagus harvesting is a fantastic mix of the pleasant and the useful. Spending time outdoors in the fresh air, whether you are alone or in company (whichever works best for you in a given moment), especially in the spring when the nature awakes and invites us to become more active, is exactly what we spend the entire winter yearning for. Harvesting newly sprouted wild asparagus is the extra incentive to start wandering around the gentle slopes of Northwest Istria. It is important to mention that a permit to harvest asparagus on state-owned land is required.
2. Preparing dishes under the supervision of seasoned Istrian chefs
I once participated in such a gathering myself. A few of us met up at Casa Romantica – La Parenzana, where we prepared the freshly harvested asparagus under the watchful eye of chef Guido Schwengersbauer, the host of this fantastic establishment. I now know how to prepare pasta dough for ravioli, as well as the tasty filling for it with fresh wild asparagus.
3. Finger licking delicacies
Asparagus soup or risotto, dishes combining the asparagus with sea food and meat, truffles and pasta, and numerous other combinations will win you over at first taste. I don’t know about you, but I have been planning my trip to Northwest Istria ever since the start of this gastronomic event, especially since I started thinking about the excellent Istrian wines and renowned olive oils.
4. Spring excursions to recharge your batteries
Northwest Istria is the best place for excursions in the spring. For those who have yet to explore this corner of the biggest Croatian peninsula, I recommend the Škarline Nature Park or a walk around Oprtalj. You can always head for a one-day trip to one of the natural attractions surrounding Northwest Istria. You will not regret it, and you will make it back just in time for a nice dinner. Asparagus, of course.
5. Health factors
I mentioned the benefits of spending time outdoors in the clean air, taking long walks and relaxing in spots with views of the surrounding areas at the start. But besides stimulating us to do physical activities, eating asparagus is also healthy in itself. Namely, asparagus is known for having few calories and being full of minerals and vitamins. Keeping watch over our health, they stimulate the cleaning of our organism after the winter and they are considered one of the healthiest groceries.
As a little extra, here is a truly simple and fast recipe for one of the most popular and beloved dishes in Istria: the asparagus frittata.
Recipe for wild asparagus frittata
Clean the asparagus and only keep the soft parts. The wooden part of the stalk is to be separated from the softer top, best by snapping off the top manually, bending the stalk until it breaks.
Cut the asparagus into 2 to 3-centimeter-long pieces, wash and strain them.
If you don’t want them to be very bitter, blanch the asparagus in salted boiling water with butter and a spoon of sugar.
Add olive oil and diced onions.
Add the asparagus, and after a minute of frying add the mixed eggs, salt and peeper.
When the eggs are fried, the dish is ready.