This asparagus casserole recipe is a little known gem displaying the delicious flavors of the Mediterranean spring. Wild asparagus are exquisite, but it admits green varieties too.
This quick and easy recipe is a brilliant example of the seasonal landscape cuisine that has been naturally kept in the Catalan Countries and across the Mediterranean basin.
Ingredients for this asparagus casserole recipe
Serves 4 as appetizer or side dish
- 3 bundles asparagus ï¿½ chopped into 2 or 3-inch pieces
- 1 pound fresh peas ï¿½ shelled
- 2-tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes ï¿½ peeled and grated
- 1 big onion ï¿½ finely chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- 1-teaspoon flour
- 1/8-teaspoon salt
- 2-cups water
- 4 corns black pepper
For the picada
- 4 small cloves garlic ï¿½ peeled
- 4 toasted almonds
- A piece of toasted bread of about 2 inches
- 1 small sprig flat Italian parsley ï¿½ leaves finely chopped
How to prepare this asparagus casserole recipe
- Cut and discard the hard stem ends of the wild asparagus. Although it varies a lot depending on their origin, you should chop at least 2 inches.
- Chop the asparagus into 2-inch pieces and steam them for five minutes with the 2 cups of water. Do not discard the remaining water from steaming, set it aside.
- Steaming is the best way to cook asparagus, preferable to boiling as it ensures that the wild asparagus keep the freshness of the landscape where they naturally sprang up.
- Now it’s time for the sofregit or Catalan tomato sauce. This time cook it uncovered. Heat the olive oil in a casserole and add the onion.Turn heat to low and stir for about 3 minutes. Add the tomato and the bay leaves and stir. Cook 2 more minutes.
- Add the peas, making sure that the heat is low to prevent burning, and cook for 15 minutes stirring now and then.
- In the meantime prepare the picada.
Pound with mortar and pestle, first the garlic, then the almonds and finally the bread and the Italian parsley leaves. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the asparagus water to dilute and bind the picada.
- When the peas are tender, add the tablespoon flour and 1 cup of the asparagus water you set aside. Cook 2 more minutes.
- Add the steamed asparagus, pepper, salt and the picada. Stir, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Serve hot.