Cicoria Saltata in Padella

I’m not a huge fan of Roman cuisine, it isn’t that I don’t like it; it can just get old after a while. I am not curious with meat, so the whole “5th Quarter”, as they call it here, the strange innards of the pig, lamb and cow, make me a little queasy. That leaves me with the typical pastas, amatriciana, carbonara, cacio e pepe and though there are others, the list pretty much ends there. I love them all, but couldn’t spend a lifetime with only those three choices.

One thing that Roman cooking has in abundance though, are vegetables. The land around Rome is incredibly fertile and just ten minutes outside the Raccordo Annulare you will see an enormous amount of farmland overgrown with artichokes, kiwi, vineyards and greens greens greens. The area south of Rome towards Latina was all swampland until Mussolini filled it with soil creating his ideal towns like Latina and creating vast farmland with very rich soil. This is a heavily agricultural area and produces a major part of the vegetables that Romans eat at their table.

One of my favorite Roman greens is Cicoria, dandelion greens, essentially a weed that you can pick on the side of a highway. Though it is often described as bitter, the flavor becomes milder when you cook it.

Cicoria Saltata in Padella

  • 1 or 2 large bunches of dandelion greens, washed thoroughly
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 peperoncino (small chili pepper)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgina olive oil
  • salt to taste

Wash dandelion greens thoroughly. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the greens’ initial cooking. Once the water starts to boil add a small handful of salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Add dandelion greens and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain in a colander.

Heat oil in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat and add the whole cloves of garlic and peperoncino. When garlic starts to sizzle add boiled dandelion greens and sauté for about 10 minutes.

Greens can either be served hot or at room temperature. Great as side dish.

~ by italicious on November 8, 2008.

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