Now I see why my CSA box is called a mystery box. Ya just never know... This week I found a bag of agretti, an heirloom Italian green. In Italy it's called salsola soda and is a close cousin to the tumbleweed. Agretti is a tender, succulent herb, which when harvested young has a pleasingly sour taste. In Italy, agretti is chopped and tossed in salads or saute with onions to throw into pasta dishes, but it also makes a good stir-fry. It sort of looks like a weed and it got me thinking... Maybe someday weeds would be vegetables we savor instead of plants we don't understand. I don't know, I think that's what the ingenious Italians keep as their own little secret.
AGRETTI WITH CRISPY PANCETTA AND POACHED EGGS
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, 1/4-inch dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound agretti, tough stems removed
Large pinch of crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fill a frying pan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low.
In another frying pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally until light golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until just soft, 5 seconds. Add the agretti and crushed red pepper and cook, tossing with tongs occasionally, until it is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In the meantime add the vinegar to the boiling water. Crack the eggs into the pan and poach until the whites are firm and the yolks are soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, divide the warm agretti between two plates and top with each place with two eggs. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.