It’s been a good year for wild asparagus, a springtime delicacy which transforms a frittata, risotto or pasta sauce into a regal feast. Pino and I had good luck foraging in early April, coming out of our woods with a good bundle. And on the day before Easter, I’d found enough for a frittata di asparagus selvatici for our Easter dinner antipasto.
Around here, dogs are used to hunt wild boar, pheasants and hare and some breeds are trained to sniff out the truffles, both the black ones and the even more-prized white ones. But dogs aren’t about to go hunting wild asparagus.
[lcaption]Asparagus frittata for Easter Sunday antipasto[/lcaption]
At least, not ours. took our big white Maremanno shepherd, Lamone, along this morning though, sending him ahead of me through the high grasses under our olive trees down to the woods. When hunting wild asparagus you have to beware of vipers – so our farm neighbors warn – which slither under the rocks, seeking the cool. In nearly forty years of scrambling up and down over the rocks in our woods, I’ve never seen a viper.
But why take chances? I figured that Lamone romping through the grasses ahead of me would scare off any lurking creatures.
[lcaption]Lamone, see these wild asparagus?[/lcaption]
But he wasn’t about to head into the woods with me: he plopped down in a copse of grass near the woods, pacifically watched me while panting with what I swore was a smug grin.
Lamone’s not like our first sheep, Sophie: years ago, while I was deep in the woods hunting the first asparagus shoots, I heard her panicked bleating as she came crashing through the woodland underbrush, looking for me. She joined in my asparagus hunt.
I just cleaned what I’d picked today, thinking about the past hunts as I snapped the tender stalks. I guess I like the hunting for the asparagus as much as the goodness.
[lcaption]1977 / With my first sheep, Sophie[/lcaption]
Read more here about wild asparagus….
Read about a 1976 wild asparagus hunt – with my first sheep!
Click here to see a video of the asparagus hunt
Click here for a video of wild asparagus-frittata-making
Click here to see a video of frittata-making
Read about a wild asparagus festival near Spoleto
Click here for a wild asparagus recipe
Click here for more recipes….
Read about Novella’s wild asparagus