A vegetable fit for a king, a treasure trove of health, food, medicine, and an aphrodisiac all in one.... are just some of the epithets used by asparagus aficionados worldwide to describe their fascination with the plant that has been considered a symbol of life and nature awakening from their respective slumbers since time immemorial. Asparagus (lat. Asparagus officinalis) is one of the oldest self-seeding plants in the Mediterranean with records of its medicinal benefits existing for thousands of years. Its strong detoxifying effect is the result of the amino acid asparagine that cleanses the body of the toxins that accumulate during the winter and strengthens the immune system.
In the rest of the word asparagus is usually grown, but Croatian cuisine favours the wild asparagus found in forests that has an intense and bitter aroma and is supposedly laden with minerals and vitamins, which are good grounds for addition to a healthy spring menu.
Asparagus or šparuge, which is the local sobriquet, is a part of folk tradition, as the locals spend the entire season harvesting it on steep and unapproachable slopes. Although it is common in Croatia, asparagus season lasts the longest in the northern Adriatic. It is a mainstay of Kvarner cuisine, especially during Easter, when it signals the blossoming of life and the return to the outside world. The Christian iconography is best exemplified in the gastronomical blend of asparagus and eggs, the fritaje, which is a common way of preparing asparagus in the region. It is an excellent complement to sea food, especially the sweet Kvarner prawn with sheep’s curd, a natural symbiosis of Kvarner right there on your plate!