You’ve heard about Farmer’s Markets and seen produce sections at Whole Foods or your local grocery store. We’ll bring you an authentic look into the Italian “farm to table” concept as we introduce a couple of spring vegetables– in season now and ready to be prepared!
Italy has markets, supermarkets, and specialty shops. In Italian this would be themercato,supermercato, andfruttivendolo(literally translated: sells fruits and vegetables).Unlike in the US, vegetables that aren’t in season and are not as readily available, are not sold in markets. As a result, everyone usually eats produce that is fresh and in season!
Here are two vegetables that are currently being harvested in Spring:
Asparagi(Asparagus) – In Italy, asparagus are used in risotto, cream of asparagus soups,torte salate (salty pastry pies) and more! There are alsoasparagi selvatici(wild asparagus) which are harvested in the wild, are very skinny, and much more delicious than those grown on a farm! Keep an eye out during your hikes for these small bush like plants.
Carciofi(Artichokes) – In the US we usually know artichokes as stuffed artichokes or in olive oil and found on mediterranean appetizer plates. Overseas,carciofi can be found topped on pizzas, inravioli ripieni di carciofi (artichoke filled ravioli),paccheri con carciofi alla carbonara (carbonara pasta with artichokes) and can even be enjoyedcrude (raw).
To enjoy an artichokecrude, first make a dipping sauce of lemon, olive oil and salt. Get a young artichoke and peel off the petals. As you get closer to the center, you’ll peel off pieces with some fleshy meat at the bottom. Dip the petal in the sauce, then use your lower teeth to remove the meat as you discard the rest of the petal. If the “meat” doesn’t come off, keep removing petals and go towards the center until it does!
When you’re traveling, especially in Italy–go for fresh! At the markets, check out produce that looks the best and keep focus on local goods! Ask for fruits and vegetables in stagione (in season). Who knows, maybe we’ll see you at the localmercato,supermercato, orfruttivendolo!