I'm sure the neighbors think I'm crazy. I've been waltzing around the house proclaiming my love to this deletable vegetable in song. But if ever a vegetable deserved to be serenaded, it is agretti.
I stopped by our village vegetable market on my way to picking up some milk and Fontina from the neighbor's raw milk vending machine, and I about jumped to the ceiling in joy when I saw that they had agretti. Agretti mean it's nearly spring. Agretti also mean that I get to eat agretti, which is pretty much the best thing this gal could ask for.
What are agretti? They look like grass, and are a succulent plant that grows in Italian bog land. They have skinny red roots, and when you steam them, they taste like salty lemons. I learned to cook them from my friend Stefano Zonca (one of the best chefs in Italy, and I had the opportunity to work with him in his restaurant two years ago). You can do a lot of things with agretti.... they make an incredible tortellini stuffing, and are good eaten raw, but I like them best steamed and tossed with a bit of lemon and olive oil.
Yesterday I bought some infused organic extra virgin olive oil from a farmer at the market... two bottles. One infused with lemon rind, the other with truffles. I have a feeling a dab of the truffle olive oil will be divine on my little agretti friends.
|I also found some pleurotus mushrooms at the market, and they turned into a creamy mushroom soup to accompany the agretti.|
|Snap the red roots off like this|
In a heavy bottomed pan (I love using a copper one) that has a lid, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil, and toss the damp agretti around in it. Squeeze in half a lemon, and cover the pot for 3-5 minutes, until they've reduced but are still 'al dente'. Drizzle with olive oil (even better if it is a truffle or lemon infused olive oil!) and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Enjoy hot!
|This is my favorite pot for cooking agretti. It is encased in copper and has a stainless steel lid.|
|What agretti should look like when they are ready.|
|Agretti, I love you|