Being out in the gentle sunlight and fresh sea air filled with the fragrances of essential oils and sea aerosol, and also getting some excellent food as a result.
When spring starts to warm the soil on the island of Lošinj, this is the beginning of the aromatic wild asparagus season. This is a plant of the Asparagaceae family. Both cultivated and wild asparagus are aromatic vegetables.
Wild asparagus is thin and unlike succulent cultivated asparagus. Its delicate bitter aroma is reason enough to spend a few hours walking in Lošinj’s woods and macchia in search of young sprouts of this tasty plant.
The asparagus shrub is prickly and rough, but its young shoots are soft and delicate, and full of aromatic juice. If you find asparagus that is a bit thicker and darker in colour, you can consider yourself particularly lucky: this has the best taste.
A young shoot of wild asparagus is only one to a few millimetres in diameter, and it takes a practised eye to spot one against the green background of the local vegetation. The ability to find asparagus is therefore considered a skill that is highly appreciated. The search for asparagus can sometimes become something like a trance, a state in which you have to free yourself from any thoughts and fully concentrate on scanning the vegetation in search of the tiny shoots. Imagine the joy when you find what you’ve been searching for or when you find a whole bunch of asparagus in one spot!
Asparagus has two parts. The edible upper part is soft and succulent. This part breaks off when you pick it, releasing a fine scent and aromatic juice. The lower, woody part cannot be broken off when picked, which is a sign that this part is old and unfit for consumption. The soft sound of asparagus breaking under your finger tips and its fragrant aroma make asparagus picking a harmonic symphony.
Apart from being a search for healthy food, asparagus picking has several benefits: taking in fresh air in natural surroundings or admiring a view of the sea in a clearing. Life on Lošinj has always been about beauty, wonderful nature and great experiences that invigorate body and soul.
When you return home with a whole bunch of asparagus, it’s time to clean it and prepare it for cooking. For this purpose, you should once again break the stalks and throw away the woody parts so that they do not ruin the creamy, soft and juicy taste of the dish you are about to make. The scent of asparagus will remain on your hands, creating a wonderful aromatic cloud around you.
The first step when preparing asparagus is to blanch it. You can then add it to soft boiled eggs, risotto, or make a traditional omelette. To make this culinary treat even more appealing, you can add pršut dry-cured ham. Aromatic asparagus will also add flavour to soups and salads, and is the perfect accompaniment to seafood dishes.
The healthy contents of asparagus
This modest vegetable is rich in potassium, phosphorus, sulphur, calcium and magnesium. It also contains microelements such as iron, copper, zinc, fluorine and iodine. Asparagus is an excellent source of folic acid, vitamin C, thiamine and vitamin B6.
Asparagus has a long history. People have always appreciated its healing properties, and with good reason. It is traditionally considered to be a diuretic and to have beneficial effects on the kidneys. Asparagus is also sometimes described as an aphrodisiac.
Ruthin, a flavonoid from asparagus, reduces cholesterol, helps maintain healthy blood pressure, and strengthens the capillary walls. Asparagus also contains glutathione, a very strong anti-carcinogenic substance and antioxidant that protects cells from carcinogenic changes and oxidative damage. Elderly people will also often recommend asparagus as a remedy following mental exertion.
Healthy wild asparagus will definitely win you over with its taste, which every year makes many islanders walk through the island macchia in search of the plant. If you add to this the beneficial effects of being in nature, meditating while walking, being in good company, and having a fun competition with people you love, we feel confident that you too will fall in love with this tasty spring delicacy.
In our restaurants, don’t forget to order a dish prepared with asparagus to make sure you experience one of Lošinj’s unforgettable tastes. While walking in the springtime, try to find at least one fragrant stalk of asparagus. You can even taste it raw – ideally while you admire a view of the blue sea.