The wild asparagus is up and, if you know where to find it, you’ll have to set your alarm clock early around here. Wild asparagus is a precious and fleeting delicacy on top of the Chianti Mountains and it is the early bird that gets the worm. Unfortunately, at Petraia, wild it doesn’t grow but in our vegetable garden the first shoots are coming up now. This is my sign spring has arrived. I can leave behind those hearty root vegetables and brassicas that have sustained all winter.
We’ll start letting those winter plants flower and go to seed. The flowers will be edible so we’ll use those in the kitchen. Many of the seeds will add a spicy kick to our dishes or they will be saved to plant again later in the season. Soon the parade of spring herbs and vegetables will begin in earnest, fave beans, peas, green onions, tender lettuce leaves, radish, lovage, parsley and baby carrots. But for now we have asparagus. Yesterday we welcomed our first guests of the season and they enjoyed the first two tiny spears of the year which I cut up very fine to give an extra lift and add a fleck of green to a plate of tangy white tomato water risotto.