Spring on an Istrian Plate

Spring is a time of awakening, the day is longer, the sun shines stronger and the nature shows us its glory with all of the flowers and blossoming trees. Also the bugs, but there has to be a downside of everything, right?
Spring on an Istrian Plate
Spring on an Istrian Plate
Spring is a time of awakening, the day is longer, the sun shines stronger and the nature shows us its glory with all of the flowers and blossoming trees. Also the bugs, but there has to be a downside of everything, right? smiley Istrian plate in spring is filled with the first young shoots of nature – dandelion leaves (in Istria they're called wild chicory), green onions, fennel, young peas and of course, the favorite spring shoots asparagus. These plants are often made combined with eggs, pasta, but also as a part of minestrone (various vegetable soups) and salads. 
 
In case you decide to visit Istria during the spring time, you'll soon realize that asparagus presents the favorite category of Istrian wild plants. You can find them in nature, you can buy them both at the green market and in supermarkets, and also you can order meals that contain asparagus in every tavern and restaurant. So let me „arm“ you with several recipes, just to be prepared. 
 
Omelette with asparagus – the basic dish. Fry the soft parts of the asparagus on some oil until they soften to the point you can easily cut them with a fork. If they're too tough, pour some water in them and cook until they turn soft. Mix with salted eggs at the end and you have a perfect tasty and healthy meal.
Asparagus salad – shortly boil the soft part of the asparagus stem, strain it and season with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. You can add boiled eggs and garlic to this salad.
Asparagus soup – don't throw away the hard parts of asparagus stems. They're great for making soups. Fry some onions and garlic until they release their juices, remove them, add water and asparagus stems and cook it for half an hour. When the water turns green, take the vegetables out and add a mixture consisted of one egg with some flour and olive oil. 
Pasta with asparagus – this can be made in several ways, depending of whether you prefer it with meat or sea food. First you have to fry some onions on oil, than add chopped asparagus. After they soften, add pieces of prosciutto (or shrimps) and cook until they're done. Cook the pasta separately (in Istria, the pasta is usually pljukanci or njoki) and put it in the asparagus sauce. Cook the whole mixture for a couple of minutes. You can add cooking cream in one version, or tomato sauce in another. Serve it with grated cheese. 
 
P.S. Don't be alarmed the first time you go to the bathroom after eating this yummy vegetable – the smell of your No1 will be very intense.
by: Vesna Ivetić

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