Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Italy Part IV: wild Italian greens . . .

One of the most favourite parts of our holiday in Italy was when the owner of the villa, Elda, invited us to help her pick a vegetable that grows wild on the villa property.  We can't seem to figure out what it was called, but it looked more like an herb than a veggie.  I failed to get a good picture of it while it was still on the stalk (you pluck the leaves off before eating it), but you can see a good shot of it in the video below.

Elda explained that the vegetable grew wild in the area and that it is generally eaten in risotto or a frittata or as a side dish.  But before you can eat it, you have to pick it!  Jason and Elda did the dirty work while Charlie and I picked flowers below.

The hill where it was growing on the property was extremely steep, but they both navigated it quite well!

Once we had bags and bags of greens, Elda explained how to pluck off the leaves and then sent us on our way with an enormous bag of the stuff!

You can see what the veggie looks like at the end of this little video:

And here it is once we picked it off the stalk:

Here it is again once Jason sautéed it in some olive oil (as per Elda's suggestion):

Though he cooked it up the greens as Elda suggested, he served it in a very non-Italian dish of lamb and hummus.  It was delicious!  

The veggie was very mild and vaguely spinach-like.  I have to say, our favourite part of it was picking it in the gorgeous Italian countryside!  

PS:  Jason also made this amazing focaccia bread for dinner that night.  We sampled something similar while in Italy, but I have to say that Jason's was better!

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