Fine weather in early spring tends to bring on the wild asparagus in Italy, one of the most refined shoots of the season. With it’s distinctive flavour, wild asparagus is rich in iron, phosphorus and vitamins A, E, C and B. Not to be recommended for those with any sort of kidney complaints (it has diuretic properties) but other than that extremely good for you. Interestingly, from a number of sources, I read that Asparagus is easier to digest if prepared with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
It is also a vegetable that needs very little preparation to bring out its best.
As a side dish either lightly boiled or roasted it works fabulously with chicken or fish. To roast, toss in a generous amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil either alone or with some cherry tomatoes and roast for around 15-20 mins on a medium high heat (170C).
We also love it in a vegetarian carbonara during the spring (just replace the pancetta with asparagus) or of course in risotto.
The Olive Oil we enjoy most frequently with asparagus is Paolo Cassini’s Extremum. Its precision and minerality seem to meet the attitude of asparagus perfectly.