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Sun dried Tomatoes

Tomato Passata sauce, part 1

Tomato Passata sauce, part 2

Feeling Dandy

Mariella , Carla and me

Although the weather was raining and quite chilly, my friends Carla and Mariella – two lovely ladies from the village – telephoned me to participate in a wonderful experience: collecting cicoria or wild  chicory in the Umbrian hills. By another name they are called the leaves of wild dandelions.  In the countryside, picking  wild greens in the fields is something that has been going on for generations. It is done mostly by Italian women who are the experts! I was fascinated by the speed  with which Carla and Mariella recognized and cut this vegetable. Believe me in 5 minutes we had a filled  basket.

 I love this vegetable too. It costs nothing, the leaves are tender when they are young and you can cook them like spinach. You can not eat them  raw because they are too bitter. Me for my part I ate chicory since I was little, because my mother was obsessed with this vegetable since it is  very healthy and also because she is like a goat- we say this in Italy– she eats lots of vegetable



During the collection Mariella said to me that the best way to cook the chicory is simply using  extra virgin olive oil, chili and garlic. But Mariella also told me that her grandchildren do not eat chicory cooked  it in this way. … too green they say. So she created a recipe: Frittata (omelette) with sausages and chicory, so the family are all happier. Carla under her big umbrella confirmed that she makes the recipe with sausage too and now even her grandchildren are satisfied. It ‘was amazing, such good fun. Collecting the chicory was easy, but to clean it was less fun. Any way I chose the traditional recipe because I am a true lover of chicory plus I don’t have grandchildren yet!



How it works:
Clean and boil the chicory. Then, in a large pan fry garlic and chili in extra virgin olive oil. Drain the “cicoria” of excess water and add to the oil. Cook for 5 / 8 minutes and serve with a pinch of salt.

3 comments to Feeling Dandy

  • Lorna

    I never realised that was what cicoria actually is. How delicious, I have never tried it in an omelette before, but I can imagine it is very satisfying. I really like your tips on wild produce like this one. Any chance you can tell me about aggretti? What does it look like when it grows?

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