It’s pick and plait time here in Abruzzo at the moment, with onions and garlic becoming works of art as our neighbours trim their roots and string them together ready to lend some flavours in the deep mid-winter.
In the heat of the hot summer sun it’s hard to think let alone care about a hard cold winter so far away, but for anyone who has access to fresh garlic or freshly harvested onions and who is looking for a light fast dinner that is just perfect with a wild spinach salad, here’s a tip from my ever-wonderful neighbour Italia, who I have to say is one of the best cooks I know. Typically Abruzzese it ensures that nothing goes to waste and makes the most of eggs fresh from their own hens (which it seems everyone in my village sensibly keeps); who’d want to endure a supermarket egg either for taste or on their conscience!
Not all of the green leaves from the garlic or onion are used for plaiting (una treccia) and those that are trimmed and remain can be used make the base for the sweetest light frittata (omelette). Simply finely chop the leaves from what appears to be the stem from ideally a mixture of these two bulbs – allow the leaves from 2 onions and 1 garlic per person. Fry gently in a glug of virgin olive oil and pour in 2 beaten eggs per person with a little salt & pepper to create a frittata – it should take about 2 mins cooking time. This is wonderful served with some Abruzzese Olio Santo (chillies in Olive oil).