Saturday, February 11, 2006

Minervinian Lampasciones

This is a gift from my mother who leaves in the south of Italy, now dated a couple of weeks back. Fortunately, these can last long by storing them in a dry and cold place, maybe on the terrace, considering these days’ temperatures. The Lampascioni are for all Apulian a delicious treat. The scientific name of this flower bulb, because this is what it is, is Muscari comosum, a wild flower which grows all over Italy. I am not sure if this bulb is used for cooking in other Italian regions but in Apulia they are never missed on the table, particularly during winter time. The Lampascione looks a bit like a little onions or shallots. They can be cooked in a few different ways, the most common being: boiled and served with olive oil, fried, with tomatoes, with dry salted cod (Baccalá) or preserved in oil. They must be cleaned as an onion and left in cold water for some time to remove all the remaining soil. In the Murgia, the wildest Apulian region, they are often cooked under hot wooden ashes then dressed with olive oil and salt. That’s the best way to maintain their wild taste. If you know where to find these in England, please let me know!

Ingredients : Lampascioni, extravirgin olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper

Peel the lampascioni as you would peel an onion, removing the external side covered by earth. Soak them in water and leave it overnight. Boil them in hot water from 20 to 30 minutes, until they are soft.Drain them, put it in a dish and crash them with a fork one by one. Drizzle with lots of extravirgin olive oil, a bit of vinegar, salt and pepper.


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