15 Jul2006

Agretti

by Marketman

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I spotted these clumps of what looked like long grass, short chives or green onions in several of the markets I visited in Europe last Spring. There was a lot of it in Rome so I decided to ask my wife’s cousins what it was… it’s called Agretti or Roscana or Barbe di Fratti (salsola soda). It is a ag2Spring green closely associated with Rome and nearby Umbria and it has bitterish, sour taste that can also border on a bit of salty. I never got to taste it during the stay though I was assured it was definitely an acquired taste. Even native Romans thought I was loopy for wanting to try it. Apparently the easiest way to enjoy it is in various salads but also as a blanched side dish garnished with some olive oil and lemon. The green is now becoming one of those chi-chi veggies at snazzy Italian restaurants outside Italy and is increasingly being raised in places where they are sold a pricey outdoor produce markets… mostly California and the New York area. Agretti is closely related to a Japanese green used in sushi (Salsola Komarovi)…both have a tolerance for salty soil or water and take on some of the salty flavor as well…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. corrine says:

    Are those zucchini flowers? Have you tried tempura zucchini flowers? I haven’t because I couldn’t find any in Manila but I used fresh squash flowers and they were superb! yum, yum!

    Jul 19, 2006 | 8:50 pm

     
  2. Marketman says:

    corrine, squash and zucchini flowers are pretty close alternatives and they work well in most recipes, I find. Yes, I do have a post in my archives on fried squash blossoms…

    Jul 20, 2006 | 7:43 am

     
 

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