DRUMS ROLL: trrururuururururur. I am proud to present to your attention the only “Erbe troate co patate” recipe you could ever find on the web. Admittedly it is not such a famous recipe and in fact I think it is mainly prepared in my hometown, Montegranaro, and the neighboring area. If I have to be honest I don’t even know how to find an appropriate Italian translation to the its dialectical name “erbe troate co le patate”. Erbe troate means erbe spontanee di campo literally wild herbs, that spontaneously grows in the fields and on the side of countryside’s roads, with potatoes. The herbs involved belong to the family of wild chicory and according to their availability you can use them all or just one; they mainly are: cime di rapa (turnip tops), wild spinach, chads, grugni (chicory) and crespigne- name of which I don’t even know the Italian correspondent. They used to be a staple on families’ tables before WWII as they were free, tasty and really good to give to husbands as leftover packed lunch, as my great-grandfather used to tell me. This recipe is in fact his; my great-grandpa was a brilliant chef and he used to make it often as a rich side to winter dinners when wild herbs grow faster. This dish used to be and still is one of my favourite dish ever.
- 1 kg of wild herbs
- 3 potatoes
Now remove the yellow and damaged leaves and cut the bone of the stalk before rinsing them. The only kind of herb that you have to clean a bit more carefully is the wild turnip as you will have to check that it does not bear the turnip’s worm, as my grandmother called it,by cutting a cross across the stem itself.
Now wash them carefully and place a big pan of water with salt on the cooker. Immediately place the intact peeled potatoes, 3 for each kilos of herbs, into the water and only when the water boils place the rinsed herbs. Do stir them with a wooden spoon every now and then otherwise the still water will make them go yellowish. After around 15 minutes the herbs will be soft enough to be drained and be S-mashed with the potatoes. Now, follow carefully the description of this technique: firstly mash the potato with a proper potato-mashing movement then mix the potatoes to the herbs with a more this-food-is disgusting-i-am-just-playing-with-it gesture, which involves stubbing the vegetarian mixture repeatedly with the edge of your utensil as if you are literally digging on the ground.
When your tray of herbs and potato looks smoothly enough dress with salt and oil and you are done. However if you feel naughtier peel a sausage and cook it in small pieces on a fraying pan, when they are crunchy mix them to the herbs and potato and just fucking enjoy it.
- Fresh Herb Butter Recipe (gourmet.answers.com)
- Potato Salad Recipe (food.com)
- Mashed Potatoes and Turnips with Roasted Applesauce Swirl (beverlyhillsfarms.com)