THE bruscandoli, very healthy wild herbs used in cooking are the sprouts of wild hops. Also known by the name of wild asparagine due to the strong resemblance to wild asparagus, the bruscandoli are about 20 cm long and are harvested in spring, by the rivers, in the middle of brambles and hedges.
Since ancient times, these herbs were used as a digestive remedy and for the treatment of dysentery and various intestinal affections.
Properties of bruscandoli
The bruscandoli are low in calories; about 10 kcal per 100 grams. They have toning, refreshing, diuretic and laxative properties.
How to recognize bruscandoli and how to clean it
When collecting them, it is advisable to have a paper bag (such as bread bags); plastic is not recommended as it would not make the sprouts “breathe”, especially on a sunny day. Once collected, they should be washed well under water and possibly also using bicarbonate.
The edible parts are the tops, the leaves and, optionally, the stem which, cut into small pieces, is excellent for omelettes; the hardest stems must be removed. It is good to cook them as soon as they are picked to take full advantage of their properties, but they can be kept for a few hours; just keep the bunch in a glass with water.
Asparagine, uses in the kitchen
There are several recipes that involve the use of these spontaneous herbs with a delicate flavor; they are generally used to make risotto; only 300 grams are enough for 4 people and should be put at the beginning when the sauté is formed before making the classic risotto. Alternatively, they can be boiled first and added when the rice is toasted and then add the broth.
A different idea for using these wild herbs is to use them as the main ingredient for very delicate green dumplings, the recipe of which can be found in the next paragraph.
- Boil the bruscandoli until they are soft, then chop them coarsely and mix them with the wholemeal flour: the amount of flour must be adjusted by "eye". The dough will be ready when it appears homogeneous, neither hard nor too soft.
- After mixing the ingredients well, knead the dough until it forms many gnocchi with a size of about 2cm each.
- Boil the gnocchi in boiling water for a few minutes and season with extra virgin olive oil, poppy seeds and grated Parmesan cheese.
Bruscandoli and contraindications
It is good to underline that we must not overdo the portions; should be taken in moderation, as an excess of hop buds can cause nausea and dizziness.