Mediterranean Asparagus (MT: Spraġ) Asparagus aphyllus
Seems like the stinging plants often turn out to yield interesting rewards! Encountering the foraging plant of this month may result in some complaints as its spiky leaves get stuck to clothing and often do not let you go. It is often considered as nothing but a thorny pest but in early autumn the spiny asparagus produces beautifully delicate minuscule yellow flowers and later in winter it starts producing small but delicious fleshy shoots which are perfectly edible and have a great taste. It may not be as famous as its relative – the cultivated Asparagus officinalis which is prized in many dishes – but it is quite abundant and easily found.
Read more about this and other plants to forage by ordering our Foraging Guide– always keeping in mind to pick wild plants with caution and with respect, also for other creatures who may depend on them and avoiding protected habitats.
Martin, Friends of the Earth Malta director, is also very good cook ! This month, he has allowed us into is kitchen to steal his recipe of this tried-and-tested delicious Asparagus Frittata:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sliced shallots (use onions if not available)
300g asparagus – chopped or sliced in half
1 cup ricotta
salt and pepper according to taste
1 Tbsp fresh chives (optional)
1 cup grated cheese
Prepare the egg mixture and leave it on the side: Mix the beaten eggs, ricotta and cheese together.
Lightly fry the shallots in olive oil until they turn translucent. This should be done in an oven-proof pan or shallow pot
Add the asparagus and cook until soft.
Preheat the oven.
Pour the egg mixture and cook for about 4 minutes or until it almost sets.
Place the pan into the heated over for around 6 minutes or until it starts to brown at the top.
Tip:Green or red peppers can also be used as substitute or as an addition should not enough asparagus be available for harvesting.