Friar beards, cooking, recipesand lots of useful information. Description of the plant and advice.
Friar or agretti beards, plant
Its botanical name isSalsola soda, is a species of plant of the Chenopodiaceae family; in other words thefriar beardsthey are not so distant relatives of chard, spinach and quinoa!
In common parlance, the Salsola soda plant is known asfriar beardoragretto. The agretti are native to the Mediterranean, they grow spontaneously and develop up to 70 - 80 cm in height. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, the leaves are fleshy with green or red stems.
In the kitchen, for cooking, soft jets are used, in the early stages of development.
Friar beards, cooking and recipes
Thefriar beardsthey can be used in allrecipesmade from green vegetables. If you have a recipe with chard or spinach, you can very well replace these vegetables withagretti. Yes, so you can preparesautéed agrettior use the friar's beards (blanched) to create an excellent filling for ravioli or cannelloni.
Therecookingis one of the most classic: just boil it in boiling water and let it cook until the leaves soften and reach the desired consistency.
In the photo above, a very simple recipe:friar beardsblanch (cook for 5 minutes in already boiling water) and then sauté in a pan with bacon. Before blowing theagretti in a pan, drain the cooking water well and wait for the oil in the pan to boil. To taste, season with salt and freshly chopped garlic.
Cooking times: to boil thefriar beards5 minutes are enough. Use lightly salted water as these vegetables are rich in sodium.
Those suffering from arterial hypertension should limit the use of agretti as well as endive. These vegetables contain sodium.
How to clean agretti
Thefriar beardsthey are easy to clean. It will be enough to remove the most fibrous area adjacent to the long ridice. With a small knife, remove the root and the hardest (and yellow) parts from the stems. The rest of the plant, if it does not have rot or dry areas, is edible.
If the apical tips are burnt (from the sun or from drought) remove them before cooking.
How to collect agretti
Harvesting is also simple. As stated, thefriar beardsthey are used only in the early stages of development, therefore when the plant has green and tender shoots. Just uproot the plant and remove the root before cooking. The plant is in the optimal phase of development between late March and early April, when temperatures start to be milder.
How to cook agretti
Once boiled, the agretti can enrich a potato salad, they can be served dressed with garlic and chilli or sautéed in a pan.
They can also be used to prepare excellent omelettes, or, for those who prefer to dampen the flavorgrassyof these vegetables, you can saute theagretti in a panwith butter and grated cheese.
Like spinach, they can be used to prepare tasty stuffed pizzas (what about a Neapolitan calzone agretti, provolone and pancetta ?!) or rustic tarts.
How to grow monk's beards
The wild agretti collected along the coasts of the Mediterranean basin are rich in sodium. The vacuole of the plant cell of these plants becomes a sodium mine because they are plants that grow well on soils rich in salt.
When the agrettithey are grown in the garden, they have a less decisive flavor due to the lower presence of salt. In the cultivation of agretti there is no shortage of those who use to irrigate occasionally with sea water. For all information on the cultivation of friar beards I refer you to the page:how to cultivate friar beards.
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