Soft and spongy, Wild Lettuce (Sonchus asper) prefers fertile and fresh soils and doesn't adapt well to sandy ones. It grows near ruderal grounds, olive groves, vineyards, along the roadside, and even in urban areas such as sidewalks and old walls.
Similar to dandelion, Wild Lettuce, also called Crespigno, was used in monasteries precisely for its purifying and diuretic properties and is particularly valued for its beneficial effect on facial skin. Furthermore, this plant is attributed with anti-inflammatory, toning, and antipyretic properties.
We suggest the recipe for Pureed Dried Fava Beans with Wild Lettuce:
Cooking time: about 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate Servings: 4 people
- 500g dried fava beans
- 500g wild lettuce
- 100g wild chicory or dandelion
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 yellow carrot
- 1 stalk of celery
- 2/3 potatoes
- Salt to taste
- Chili to taste
- Oil to taste
Peel the potatoes, cut them roughly, and boil them in boiling water for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, clean the wild lettuce and wild chicory thoroughly, removing any residues, and boil them for about 15 minutes until the ribs are tender. Save the cooking water for use as vegetable broth to cook the dried fava beans. In a pan with a drizzle of oil, sauté the coarsely chopped onion, carrot, and celery with the garlic and chili. Add the dried fava beans that you soaked overnight and cook them for about 2 hours over low heat, adding the cooking water from the vegetables. Add the cooked potatoes and let them season for a few minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and add raw oil. Place the resulting puree on a plate, laying the previously cooked vegetables on top and seasoning with raw oil. To make it crispy, you can garnish the dish with slices of toasted bread.
If you are interested in learning more about them or how to recognize them correctly – which is very important – and understand how to collect them, visit the website of the Academy of Wild Field Herbs or follow their Facebook page.