Three and a half years ago I went on my first asparagus hunting excursion, it was painful. I came home with squinty eyes and a headache and vowed never to do it again. But how could I allow myself not to do something, for the reward it just too good to pass up.
The first few years was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I actually detested going out, but that waned with each new dish prepared. Now, I am a pro. Yes, a pro-asparagus hunter and I love each moment.
Follow me on a voyage to hunt for one of Sardinia’s wild vegetables.
How to Hunt for Wild Sardinian Asparagus
1. Head out in the great Sardinian mountains with a trained eye. Go with someone from the area a local, or half-local like myself.
2. Head outdoors in the early spring. Asparagus is a spring vegetable and is a native plant found in Europe, northern Africa, western Asia and even Saskatchewan, Canada!
3. Get them when they are young. Only the young shoots of asparagus are eaten, once the buds start to open, the shoots turn woody.
4. Find the asparagus plant. The asparagus shoot will grow in and around this plant. Wild and free, sometimes not even with the actual plant itself. Once you find this plant you will find its fruit.
5. Keep your eyes wide open for shoots. Look near rock walls, along paths, between vines, beside trees and in the asparagus plant itself.
6. Remember: Where there is one, there are more.
7. Once you’ve found your first asparagus shoot, jump in delight! No, really, jump in delight! Well, that’s what I did. Simply snip the asparagus from the bottom, removing any roots.
8. Good things come to those who wait and Rome wasn’t built-in a day, so give yourself plenty of time hunting asparagus.
9. Asparagus grows wild and free, if you’re lucky you may find big, fat, coupling asparagus!
10. Beware not to fall into any prickly asparagus bushes along the way. This may hinder your hunting experiences and may leave you with blood on your hands, which may be difficult to explain when you pass the carabinieri station on your way home.
11. Enjoy the fruits of your labour. Common recipes for asparagus include: risotto, frittata and mixed with pasta.
The above took me ninety minutes to find!
Are you an asparagus hunter? How do you like your asparagus? Please tell me below.