Erbe in abbondanza–greens with every meal


A staple at the table around here is “erbe.” Google Translate says erbe means “herb” in English. Google Translate is entitled to its opinion. The word erbe covers a wide spectrum of green stuff. (Plug “cut the grass” into Google Translate and you get “tagliare l’erbe.”)

As far as your fork is concerned, erbe is the generic term for cooked green leafy stuff you eat for lunch and dinner–spinach, swiss chard, chicory. The website GreenMe names ten edible greens (erbacce, meaning essentially “weeds”) that grow wild, some of which I’m sure I have eaten (cicoria, l’ortica, borragine), many of which I have probably eaten without knowing it, a few with names I find irresistible (for example, il dente di leone–lion’s tooth).

chicory 2

Most Tuesdays, my wife and I plan on eating in at mid-day. Tuesdays from 7 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., just up the street from our apartment, Marco and his wife Rosanna set up their fruit and vegetable stand. Talk about fresh. This week I bought a mass of chicory. You trim the stems from the leaves, chopy and wash and boil them 10-15 minutes, then chop them a little more and cook them in a frying pan with olive oil and garlic.

chicory 3

Chicory are on the bitter side, good mixed with another erbe like chard. Good on your plate, good spread on a piece of piada.

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