A blog post by Ivica Profaca – Wild Asparagus – “Pick It, Cook It, Enjoy It!”
The Wild Asparagus of Croatia – Lunch in the Dalmatian Countryside
Anyone walking around Marjan, or any other hiking location in Dalmatia these days, might witness a strange situation – people walking around, bent over, occasionally picking something. Wild asparagus season is here! A little bit earlier than usual, but that we can thank one of the warmest winters ever. Usually, it lasts until the end of June, but with this weather, who knows?
Seeing people carrying handfuls of this natural grown delicacy, might trick you – it’s not as easy as it looks to find them and pick them. There are many pickers with years of experience, and their spots, but even if you’re not a skilled asparagus picker, it’s always worth browsing around trees for small bushes seeking wood-like green flowers. At least it requires spending some time outdoors, which is always good exercise. Officially, picking wild asparagus in state ran forests is banned, except if you pay for it. Still, Marjan is off limits – even though protected as a park forest, responsibility for it lies on city, not the state, so nobody will stop you. Strange, but sometime bureaucracy brings positive outcomes.
Everyone coming to Split, or other parts of Dalmatia or Istria, should taste wild asparagus, and if there is no luck in the woods, there is always another choice – the green market. Just look for (usually) ladies holding bundles of something that looks like barely developed “normal” asparagus, the usual price is between 20 and 35 kunas, or three to five euros, depending on their offer. It’s safe to buy it there, and you will never find them in regular stores.
Steamed Asparagus & Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Wash asparagus, break stalk in two, snapping just to the point at which it bends.
- Discard the woody ends (the bottom portion) and steam the top part of the asparagus stalks in salted water, with droplets of olive oil, for about 6 minutes.
- Then, combine the asparagus with 6-8 hard boiled eggs. Toss them with a blend of olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Croatia’s wild asparagus can emerge at different times, depending upon how cold the winter was. One year we found wild asparagus in March, the next season it emerged as early as February.
- The asparagus bush’s dead growth can be sharp, so you might prefer to wear gloves when harvesting it.
Where to find it in Klenovica!?
Give it a couple of rainy spring days and head toward the protected forest of Drmun. Afterwards, climb uphill between rocky terrain from Klenovica harbor to Miletici street then down to the church of St. Magdalene.