from Alice Crespi And Gerardo Antonelli
“Food with valid therapeutic properties, asparagus has a good content of antioxidants, vitamins C and group B”, explains the doctor Maria Paola Dall’Erta, biologist chef and food educator. «Suitable for those who follow a balanced diet, there are various colors (white, green and even purple), they can be eaten cooked and raw (but this is an infrequent habit). Their unique and delicate flavor goes very well to be paired with rice or pasta, eggs or to prepare refined soups », continues the expert, who here explains the tricks to enhance the taste. Here you will find the main local varieties, how to recognize them and use them in the kitchen.
Whites of Bassano
It is a dop product, grown in the Bassano area, in Veneto. You can find it from around mid-March to mid-May. With a delicate flavor, these asparagus are white because they are made ripen underground (therefore they do not contain chlorophyll) and therefore more expensive. You can enjoy them with eggs or sautéed with crustaceans in a pan
Wild hops or bruscandoli
Produced throughout Italy, they arrive on the market in the first warm days of March and remain until May. They have a slightly spicy flavor and are perfect in savory pies or pasta sauces, especially fusilli (sautéed in a pan with garlic and butter, a few cubes of sweet bacon and chilli).
Produced in many areas of Italy, it is the most common variety and you can find it on the market from the beginning of March until the end of April. Delicious if cooked in the oven for 20 minutes combining them with a seasoned cheese: place them in a baking dish with just enough extra virgin olive oil and a generous sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano or pecorino.
Produced in Campania, they are on the market from mid-March to mid-May. The flavor tends towards bitterness and they are perfect for risottos. Remove the hardest part of the stem and cook for a few minutes in boiling water without putting the florets in contact with the water. Attention: in risotto they must be added during the creaming phase.
Green of Puglia
Originally from Puglia (they are also grown in Campania, Veneto and Emilia Romagna). After removing the hardest part, dip a small bunch in water with 500 g of peeled new potatoes. Boil them together, drain and season with hard-boiled eggs, 1 chopped parsley and 2 finely chopped garlic cloves.
(Picture of Pietro Tasca)