21 August 2016

Growing agretto and a recipe for agretto with cockles and lemon beurre blanc

Agretto, also known as barba di frate, monk's beard, or by its latin name salsola soda, has become increasingly popular on restaurant menus in the last couple of years. It is native to the Mediterranean and has been eaten in Italy for many years. Texturally it is quite like marsh samphire. It has a fresh grassy flavour, with just a hint of iron-tinged bitterness which belies the fact that, despite appearances, it is related to chard and spinach. Although found on restaurant menus, it can be hard to come by in the UK, where I've never seen it for sale in any retail greengrocers. Last year I thought I'd have a go at growing some. I can't have been the only one, as the handful of seed merchants I found who sell the seeds had all run out. This year I made sure that I got my seed order in early. My experiment was successful and I found it grew very well.

Cockles, agretto, lemon beurre blanc