کوکوی مارچوبه (Asparagus kookoo) recipe came about as a result of a recent trip to my local vegetable market where I noticed bundles of fresh green asparagus neatly tied and arranged on the shelves. I enjoy the taste of fresh asparagus either steamed or grilled plain with just a little bit of coarse salt. However, as I reached to pick a bundle up, it dawned on me that I had never cooked a Persian-style asparagus meal and among seemingly endless options I have decided to make a new version of kookoo/kuku incorporating asparagus.
To enjoy the in-season asparagus I have combined fresh herbs, chopped walnuts and barberries with eggs and I'm very happy with the results. For this recipe, I have added a touch of cayenne and cumin to bring just the right amount of flavor to the egg and asparagus combination. I must point out though that the traditional kookoo/kuku sabzi, like most dishes in the Persian cuisine, is not spicy at all. I also did not chop the vegetables as finely as I normally would for the traditional kookoo. For those unable to find barberries you can substitute it with dried cranberries instead.
Kookoo-ye Marchoobeh - Asparagus Frittata
1 pound fresh asparagus (about 20 medium sized stalks), ends snapped and cut into 2-inch pieces
8 large eggs
1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 cup chopped fresh scallion (green parts only)
A few sprigs fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried barberries (can be found in most Persian grocery stores), picked over and rinsed well
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
A pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste) *optional
A generous pinch of cumin *optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil (extra virgin) or vegetable oil
- Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the asparagus pieces lightly for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle a bit of salt over the asparagus.
- In the meantime, combine the chopped herbs, walnuts, barberries and the spices together in a large mixing bowl.
- In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs until yolks and whites are completely blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the egg over the herbs and walnut mixture in the large bowl and blend well.
- Add the egg and herb mixture over the sauteed asparagus in the skillet. With a spatula flatten the surface of the kookoo. As eggs start to set take the spatula and run it around the edges and make four large wedges or eight small ones in the skillet. Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes on medium-low heat.
To serve, cut the kookoo into small wedges and place onto a platter. May be served hot or at room temperature with yogurt, salad shirazi, torshi and bread.