Asparagus – The wild bunch in Ibiza

Ibiza rocks. And I don’t mean a bunch of indie bands rocking out in San An – I mean Ibiza ROCKS! Where else can you walk out your front door and pick your supper from a hedgerow? Asparagus is one of the many wild harvests here on the island and now is the time to go out and get some. It is everywhere.

Spotting it at first seems slow but the more you pick it, the easier it is to see. It’s a bit like picking magic mushrooms – at first they seem to be hiding but by the end they are waving at you. And winking.

There are two types of asparagus plants growing wild in Ibiza and neither look like the cultivated stuff – the first is a more spindly growth with seemingly fluffy fronds. They are dark green and can scratch slightly. The other sort is grey-ish green and these are spikey mothers you must take care with! They have the sort of thorns the Pharisees thought might look nice as a sort of crown on Jesus’ head whilst they crucified him. Got the picture?

The more spindly ones unsurprisingly produce more spindly – but nonetheless delicious – asparagus. The thicker spikier plants produce thicker stems. To pick either sort, find the part in its stem where it snaps off rather that just bends. So start from the bottom up until you find the point. Once you have found yourself a nice bunch take it home and wash it in some cold water. You can leave it soaking or wrap it and put it in the fridge.

There are many things you can do with asparagus but perhaps one of the nicest is the plain boiling way served with butter, nice salt and fresh ground pepper. To do this you simply boil it in lots of salted water, drain it and pour way too much melted butter over it. Make sure you boil it for at least a 3 or 4 minutes as this is one of those vegetables you do not want to eat al dente and it will have a bitter aftertaste if you don’t boil it for long enough.

The asparagus is greeny purple when you pick it and but goes the most beautiful vibrant green when boiled. The water you are left with has taken on all the purple and can be use as a very light vegetable stock.

Other things to do are add to pastas, soups or risottos. Put it in salads and omelettes. Make a bruschetta with asparagus, wild rocket, wild rocket flowers, broad beans (so small you don’t need to even cook them), a few toasted pine nuts, Ibiza’s UNSURPASSABLE avocados and finish it with a shaving of Flor de Esqivar cured manchego, a shot of L’Estornell olive oil and some flor de sal de Ibiza and you will surely die of pleasure...