Every season has its charm in the South of France. I always love the first signs of spring with the start of the blossoming mimosa trees, followed by the white pinkish flowers of the almond trees. And then, all of a sudden, it is time for another herald of spring: wild asparagus! Once you know where to look, you will find them everywhere. Hopefully, this post will encourage you to go asparagus hunting for yourself.
Last weekend, our French friends invited us to their secret asparagus picking spot. It felt like we were going to hunt for mushrooms, that autumnal activity wrapped in mystery. No Frenchman or woman will ever reveal their mushroom picking spot willingly. But it seems that asparagus don’t quite have the same mythical status as mushrooms, as they are a lot easier to find. Nevertheless, I was very surprised and honoured that our friends took us on their asparagus hunt.
After a little while, our friends directed us to a small forest, close to the area Chéri and I usually walk. We had never realised that we could forage for food so close to our own home! It made me feel like a real country girl. Our friends explained to us that we had to look for this particular, bright green plant (see picture below) with fluffy twigs. Often, you will see the thin, feathery stalks of asparagus growing next to them. And so we did! The wild asparagus we found were much thinner and smaller than the green ones you see in the supermarkets, but still, they were asparagus.
After a short hour, we had foraged two good bunches of wild asparagus. Delighted with our haul, we returned home to transform our harvest into a delicious lunch. Only the top of the asparagus is good to eat, so I snapped off the lower part. This kind of breaks automatically when you snap the stem about 15 centimetres from the bottom. Wild asparagus don’t need much preparation– they are delicious fried with some garlic, or added to an omelette, which is what I did. What a feast! And every time Chéri and I walk our regular route these spring days, we search for more wild asparagus.