In Le Marche (and many other parts of Italy) in Spring and early Autumn it’s common to see men and women out in the countryside with big plastic bags or baskets picking something from the weedy and unkempt field. They are probably foraging wild greens, or “erbe di campo” (field greens or literally field grass).
There are many different plants that grow wild and whose leaves or shoots are very tasty and are used for pasta sauces, frittata (omelette), savoury cakes, ravioli filling, deep fried after being dipped in a batter, blanched and sauteed as a side or, here in Northern Le Marche, as a filling for our gorgeous local flat bread: crescia sfogliata.
A couple of days ago I took my basket and off I went foraging wild greens are growing like crazy after the mild Winter we had and in the warmth of this Spring: I found wild rapini or mustard greens, crespigni (they’re similar to dandelion but slightly pricky), dandelion and plantago lanceolata (we call it “orecchie di lepre” hare’s ears). Our organic farm is the perfect place for foraging since you can be sure that there’s no trace of chemicals on what we collect!
I didn’t pick any stinging nettle nor thistle since I had no gloves, I couldn’t find any Borage borago officinalis, probably it’s a bit early, I also collected a bit of mind and balm mint for infusions, but I’ll leave that for another entry!
I added some store bought agretti (or barba dei frati or as we call them here in Northern Le Marche, liscari) for some sweetness since the crespigni and dandelion are quite bitter and blanched and sauteed them all with oil and garlic (even if the local old recipe says rendered lard and garlic!).
The following day we had them with crescia sfogliata and local fresh pecorino!