May I introduce you to my granny: a fit 88 year old with a good sense of humor who lived all her life in the middle of the countryside and has always worked hard rearing cattle, chicken and pigs and working the fields.
She knows her countryside very well and she knows what's edible out there. So I have counted on her help to find some nice fresh wild herbs to use in my cooking.
It is now the best time to go foraging. Wild herbs
are much more tasty and have a stronger taste than ordinary crops and are excellent in cooking.
We found some wild rocket which grows easily in Italy in sandy soils where the sun shines.
It has a more pungent and strong taste compared to common rocket.
With the rocket I made this classic Italian dish "Bresaola with rocket and Parmesan" which is quite delicate and the flavour of the meat, the bitterness of the rocket combined with the richness of the cheese make a great dish ready in minutes.
Bresaola is air cured beef. A very lean meat which basically has no fat and it is often recommended on diets too.
Place the bresaola on a plate and sprinkle the rocket on it. Shave some Parmesan cheese on top and sprinkle with good quality olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar.
Whilst we were in the fields we have been picking some taraxacum or dandelion which is a beneficial weed with a wide range of uses.
It has a bitter taste but has a detox and cleansing effect on the liver, it is diuretic and rich in vitamins.
It is easily recognizable by its bright yellow flowers and at the moment the fields are covered with it.
It can be added to salads or it can be cooked in little water and served with olive oil, a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon, which helps cutting the bitterness.
You don't eat the flowers only the leaves are edible. Granny gives it to her chicken too. They enjoy it and the eggs taste very good!
Another plant which is flowering now is the calendula which is widely known for its properties (anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and helps treating skin problems).
It has pretty bright orange and yellow flowers. Granny makes a cream with it using lard. She boils it with the calendula flowers, then sieves it and the cream is ready. Beeswax can be used instead of lard.
It has been an interesting day for me. I am hoping to pick more and different types of herbs soon.We have been having some rain which will make the fields thrive with new fresh leaves!