Špargljeva rižota

Spomladansko divjanje

Špargljeva rižota

Pozna zima na prehodu v pomlad se mi je vedno zdela najbolj dolgočasno obdobje – vsaj v kulinaričnem smislu. Zimske zelenjave imam že čez glavo, jesenskega sadja tako ali tako ni več prav veliko, novega pridelka pa še ni. Za nekaj tednov se zdi, kot da smo ujeti v limbu preteklosti in prihodnosti … do tistega ključnega dežja, po katerem narava čarobno ozeleni. Cel gozd oživi z neverjetno hitrostjo in vsak dan lahko vidimo razliko. To je čas za nabiranje divje raslih dobrot, kot je regrat, regačica, hmeljevi vršički, kogar pa pot zanese na Primorsko, lahko to izkoristi za brkljanje po grmičevju za šparglji.

Šparglje so poznali že v antičnem času, uporabljali pa so ga tako Grki in Perzijci kot tudi na Kitajskem. Že takrat so vedeli, da so zdravilni in da blagodejno vplivajo na ledvica. Po zatonu Rimskega cesarstva so nekoliko utonili v pozabo, v času renesanse pa so se vrnili predvsem na jedilnih premožnejših in tako dobili tudi naziv “kraljevska vrtnina”. Gojenje špargljev v Evropi se je razširilo v 16. stoletju in se je na Slovenskem obdržalo do začetka prejšnjega stoletja, po vojnama pa so izginili z jedilnikov in polj. Šele v zadnjih dvajsetih letih so se ponovno pojavili na naših krožnikih.

Drobni zeleni poganjki so, kot rečeno, koristni za delovanje ledvic in so zato zelo priporočljivi bolnikom z njihovim oslabljenim delovanjem. Delujejo diuretično, kar pomeni, da pomagajo odvajati vodo in s tem strupe iz telesa, o čemer se lahko prepriča vsakdo, ki gre po uživanju špargljev na malo potrebo 🙂

Velikonočne praznike smo letos prebili na otoku Krku, kjer je gosto, nizko rastje divjim špargljem še posebej po godu. Ko smo se vrnili z nabiranja, je bilo treba “ulov” seveda takoj preizkusiti 😉 Nastala pa je enostavna in odlična špargljeva rižota.

Of all the different tones of seasons in the year, late winter has always seemed dullest – in a culinary sense, of course. You’ve had just about enough of winter squash and sauerkraut, autumn’s fruit is as good as gone while spring produce has yet to come. It seems we get caught in a moment of limbo between what’s been and what will be … and then the first spring rain comes and nature magically bursts into life. Green spreads in the woods with an awe-inspiring pace, treating the keen observer with daily developments. This is the time to start harvesting wildgrown plants such as dandelion greens, hops sprouts and other edible greens, and those whose path takes them to coastal country can delight in gathering and enjoying their very own wild asparagus.

The asparagus has been known as a delicacy since the time of Antiquity throughout the then-known world, from Greece across Persia and as far as China. Its healing properties were established even then, and so was the beneficial effect on kidneys. After the fall of the Roman Empire, asparagus drifted into obscurity until the late middle ages and the renaissance, when it triumphantly returned to the menus of wealthy aristocrats, hence becoming known as a “royal produce”. And though asparagus gathering is arguably a spring favorite among Slovenes, it only reappeared on our plates some twenty years ago after having been forgotten since the time of world wars.

As no asparagus lover can doubt, these green sprouts have an undeniable effect on kidney performance 😉 This means they’re highly recommendable to patients with kidney troubles, since they act as a diuretic and therefore suck toxin-infused water out of the body.

This year’s Easter holiday, we spent down on the Croatian isle of Krk, which is overgrown with shrubbery perfect for asparagus-hunting. Hands full, we couldn’t resist poaching our “catch” afterwards 😉 The result was a truly delectable, creamy asparagus risotto.

Za štiri ljudi potrebujemo: / Serves four:

  • 4 dl suhega nebrušenega riža, namočenega eno uro v vodi / 1 1/2 cups of brown rice, soaked and drained
  • olivno olje / olive oil
  • 1 čebula, nasekljana / one onion, chopped
  • 4 stroki česna, zdrobljeni/ four cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 4 paradižniki, nasekljani, ali 3 dl domače paradižnikove omake / four crushed tomatoes or about 1 1/4 c of homemade tomato sauce
  • majaron /  marjoram
  • sol / salt
  • poper / pepper
  • ščep moke /  pinch of flour
  • šop špargljev, narezanih na 2 cm velike kose / one bunch of asparagus, chopped into inch-long pieces

Pričnemo tako, da na olju v večji posodi na srednje visoki temperaturi prepražimo čebulo, ji nato dodamo česen in kasneje še odcejen riž. Ko čebula in česen porjavita, dodamo paradižnik ali paradižnikovo omako. Začinimo s soljo in majaronom in ko je masa skoraj suha, začnemo dolivati vodo. Znižamo temperaturo na srednjo stopnjo. Vodo dolivamo postopoma, po 1 dl, dokler riž ni skuhan, okoli 30 minut, dokler ni riž skuhan. Rižota mora biti precej tekoča. Dodamo narezane šparglje in pokuhamo še nekaj minut. Po rižu stresemo malo moke in jo vmešamo, da postane rižota bolj kremasta. Lahko dodamo še kakšno žlico olivnega olja za pravi umami 😉

Start off by sautéing the onion with the olive oil in a large, deep skillet, on medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and once browned, add the rice. When it starts feeling dry and wanting to stick to the pan, add the tomato. Season with salt and marjoram and then start adding water to the rice, one cup at a time. Let the risotto simmer at medium heat, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked. The risotto should be quite runny. Now is the time to add the asparagus and let them cook through for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a large pinch of flour, incorporate to create a creamy sauce and add another tablespoon of olive oil before serving for true umami 😉

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