Found Food

Wild Boar Ragu

Foraging for food is all the rage these days. I only recently realized that the people I see carefully combing the hillside near the roadways in Umbria are out there looking for wild food. They’re finding mushrooms and even truffles, thick stalks of cardi and thistly greens. They are usually elderly people with canes and plastic shopping bags, so I didn’t connect them with this now very fashionable activity. I love the idea of it but I don’t yet trust myself to know the edible from the poisonous. So, my foraging has been limited to bay leaf (which I didn’t even notice until Nico pointed at bushes of it growing along the path of our country walk) and wild mint. We were, however, lucky this weekend to try crespigni at a trattoria that caters to the locals near where the Umbrian border meets the Sabina hills. We ate this prickly dark green vegetable raw with lots of olive oil, sliced garlic and big pieces of salty anchovy. It went beautifully with the wild boar ragu with homemade pappardelle that Nico loves in spite of his fury at the hunters who frighten the poor creatures in the nearby woods. Crespigni continues to grow for a few more weeks, or until spring really sets in. And the restaurant will continue to serve it for as long as the cook feels like scouring the hillside to pick it. It’s great to be reminded that food doesn’t always come from a shop.

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One response to “Found Food

  1. Grainne

    My experience with foraging has been frustrating. I’d go and comeback with nada, and others with bagfuls. Those in the know guard their caches fiercely. Which is pretty cool in principle, but frustrating if you’re on the outside looking in!

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