Spring is when nature thrives and flourishes. But fields are, alas, not as diverse as wildflowers in their yield. Other than salads, most vegetables are not ripe for the picking in early spring. The wonderfully diverse asparagus, however, is! Perfect in a thick soup, quite common in a fritaja, (an Istrian version of scrambled eggs), excellent in a risotto, so fine in a pie – the asparagus is what makes my spring menu diverse, tasty and healthy.
And what makes Istria Istria, whether you like to stretch both your legs and your nerves picking wild asparagus in the beautiful nature during March and April or you prefer to simply enjoy a culinary adventure at a time when Istrian taverns vie to be as imaginative as can be in the preparation of this traditional and traditionally beloved food. Of course, at the very thought of such an adventure, I am delighted by the fact that I can eat as much as I want and not count every bite. A full 100 grams of asparagus has a mere 20 calories!
Fortunately, this is not the only thing that makes asparagus awesome. It’s full of iron, copper, fiber, manganese, potassium, choline, zinc, magnesium and selenium. It contains an enormous amount of vitamin B, which makes it, together with saponins and flavonoids, an ally in the prevention of heart disease.
It is also a small treasure trove of vitamins, containing vitamins A, B, C, E and K. There is so much vitamin K in asparagus that it can be said that a portion of it strengthens bones! And that also happens to be the vitamin which prevents calcium from accumulating in the body, making the consumption of asparagus preventive action against cardiovascular diseases, stroke and atherosclerosis. The wealth of folic acid makes asparagus the best food for pregnant women, as well as high amounts of fiber and inulin, key substances for digestive issues.