Asparagus (Eniş) Time is Spring Time

In the coast of Aegean Sea, a little inside the region, where you can still feel the sea, in my “hometown”, if eniş (some find/call it as natural grown asparagus) is pullulated on the spring rain wet ground, then it means the spring came. Eniş could be one of the most impatient harbingers of spring time.


Rumor has it that turtles like eniş too. Although the height of eniş is longer than turtles they choose the green branches of eniş by their slow but powerful leg movements. They cut off and eat the greenest sprouts of eniş. Anyhow “homosapiens” observed how to pick off the greenest sprouts of eniş from the turtles in time and learned it to be a food.

The bitter and sweet types of this plant/herb are picked separately. Mostly all Mediterranean and Aegean herbs could be called differently in several regions even though they refer to the same herb. It is possible to write similar things about almost all herbs but it could be responded with astonishment by the locals in different regions as if none of these herbs -even though they are absolutely the same herbs as a fact- were not recognized. However, it is referred to the same herbs. That is why eniş shares the same destiny. As far as I know there is no specific calling for the bitter and the sweet one. It is called as eniş in general, on the other hand somewhat bitter one looks like ivy (sarmaşık) so it is known and called as sarmaşık in some regions. Whereas the sweet eniş really resembles asparagus. But I have doubt about if eniş could be considered as savage/natural asparagus. I will leave this as a question mark to be researched as my homework which the answer would be given in the next posts.

Peasants pick them up in their natural environment and they sell in regional bazaars in most of the Aegean villages and towns. There is only a recipe I know from my grandmother and therefore from my mother is cooking eniş in Aegean olive oil with leek and eggs. There are some personal connotations of this herb and reminds me more. I remember from my childhood that my urine smells weird. The smell in your urine is like you took antibiotic pills. You can feel nervous of realizing that odor but it is actually a sign of what you ate. For my father eniş reserves “smashing natural antibiotics”. However this is a claim to be proved. Dear blog readers, maybe you can also find the proof of this claim in the next posts.

Actually the recipe is very simple. The biggest and the most important part of the recipe is to sort out the eniş bunches –ideally you should have a bitter and a sweet one-.  In order to sort out eniş bunches you should follow the method of turtles. You need to find out the weakest point of every single eniş branch to bend and break it. Evaluate every single sprout as a “subject” and try to find its weakest part where it is bended easily.  If you want to make more out of bunches don’t be mean and put the tough parts of the sprout. For the ideal flavor you should only put the fresh and pliable parts. It is better to wash to get rid of sand and dust.

Pour some generous olive oil in the pan and add eniş little by little that you have just chopped. Stir up frequently and follow their color changing. After that, also add leeks you have chopped in the same size with eniş. While the combination is changing color in different scale of green, be sure that the ingredients are soft enough. If they are cooked now it is time to add three or four eggs. You either eat hot or cool it in the refrigerator and pour yoghurt on it as if you like. If you say I don’t like mixing eggs in every single herb, it is up to you to cook it without eggs and it is a perfect option too.

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