Tag Archives: heirloom vegetables

The mysterious… spigarello

The mysterious… spigarello, this ancient, Italian, wild green that seems also called cima di rapa, cavolo broccolo, getti di Napoli, spigariello and mistero nero. Some say it’s part of the broccoli family, others dispute it. I found this bunch at a roadside stall in southeast Queensland hinterland, a long way from southern Italy where for centuries women have picked and gathered into their upturned aprons this bitter green from the mountainsides.

And I can say when tasted fresh, it is quite bitter! But when cooked this mellows to an intense, unique, grassy flavour, much more complex than kale and tastes so healthy it must be doing you good. Many traditional recipes suggest frying it in olive oil with garlic and salt, others add lemon zest, pine nuts and raisins or put it in what is called ‘black soup’.

When trying to find out more about spigarello, I often came across words like – ancient, mystifying, heirloom, unexplained, unusual. Not sure why that makes me like it more but there’s something about finding and cooking with ‘mysterious’ Italian greens that have such ancient history behind them.

 

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First of the purple snow peas…

…keeping up with the eggplants (see previous post). Not sure what it is but there seems to be quite a bit of purple produce creeping into the vegie patch this summer. This is the first time I’ve grown these heirloom variety purple snow peas so (apart from eating one to try first up straight from the garden) I’m thinking of putting them in a salad or perhaps a stirfry.

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