March or April, depending on the area, usually sees this little delicacy of Crete making it`s appearance. It can be found along hedgerows, around the trunks of old trees, along stone walls and roadsides. With little practice you can learn to recognise this alternative vegetable with ease.
This is the bush, low lying, spikey. You will find the new shoot emerging from within or closeby, very distinctively, just like a cultivated asparagus, but greener and slimmer. There may only be one shoot, but often there are three or four.
When you have located one, just snap off the top 12 cm or so. The shorter the shoot, the shorter the length of the tender part, the longer the shoot, the longer the length of the tender part. You`ll soon get the hang of it. Try eating one to see what you consider tender or not. This enjoyable afternoon saunter demands company to enable harvesting suitable quantities, so make sure you take somebody with you.
To eat as a salad, rinse lightly, sprinkle with salt, olive oil and lemon juice. To be eaten with the fingers.
To eat as a cooked vegetable you can steam very lightly, or boil in just a centimetre of salted water or so, serve with oil and lemon. Cooked, they can be used as a filling in omelettes, pop into the pan, pour over the beaten egg as usual.
Here, I made a mini omelette giro packet, spread cream cheese on half of the omelette, laid on the steamed asparagus, sprinkled a little lemon juice over and rolled into a giro packet.
A nice healthy breakfast!