Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Hunt for Edible Things in the Cowfield

The field around my house
Yesterday, I was de-rooting some barbaboch (an Italian grass-like herb that I have recently become addicted to) in the back yard when my upstairs neighbor Betti starts asking me what I am doing.  She is a spunky lady who is probably in her early sixties, and as of this week my new best friend.  We are always trading things we have canned back and forth, and she gives us gardening advice.  So, she starts asking me if I picked it, and when I told her that I actually bought it, she told me it grows in the fields surrounding our house, along with a plethora of other edible goodies.  We decide to go out into the cow fields surrounding our house (we live downstairs, her and her partner upstairs), so that she can teach me about the wild vegetable garden literally at my doorstep.  This is what we found (and picked!):

Betti doesn't know the name of it, but has picked it all her life.  It grows in bunches with an inedible plant that looks almost identical.  It is delicious chopped up and steamed.  Tastes a little bit like chard.  When it blooms it gets these little bubble things that are fun to pop!

Wild rocket.  I have only ever had the domestic kind, and I have been a long time fan of this spicy salad.  This is pretty similar, but is spicier and more bitter. 

Dandelion Greens.  Ok, I admit this one isn't new to me, and I eat them all the time.  Or at least, since arriving in Italy I have! It is delicious in a raw salad when the shoots are under an inch tall, and once they are grown they are great, although quite bitter, when cooked.  I like to make fritata with a big bunch of this inside!

Barbaboch (aka barbabuc, barbabecco, agretti, etc).  Not sure what this is called in English, but it is my new favorite food.  I had recently discovered its cousin by the same name, which is much smaller, but this might be even better.  It is divine when cooked down with a little bit of oil and lemon juice. I am addicted!
Wild Garlic.  Looks a bit like those stinky wild onions but isn't.  Today I had it chopped up mixed in with a salad of cherry tomatoes, basil, reserve balsamic, and hand pressed olive oil. Yummy!

My treasure picked from the cow field! I feel rich, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I'm so jealous! This looks like a lot of fun! This is why the cheese there is so good. Look what your happy happy cows get to eat!