Friday 20 July 2018

Recipe Experiment: Agretti (aka Barba Di Frate or Monk’s Beard)

This is a recipe for baked place w/ monks beard & flageolet beans . . . .
Pretty healthy and gluten free!

I haven’t done a post in a while, so when Liam & Lu (of Bengrove Market Garden) handed me a bunch of Barba di Frate I thought I’d scribble a few notes down.

So, what is it? If like me you’ve never come across it, it’s flesh is like samphire (juicy and bulbous), with a lot less saltiness (since it’s land based) it has a light  flavour and firm texture. When cooked you can eat all but the thickest parts, and the soft needle shape leaves can be eaten raw.

Agretti (aka Barba Di Frate or Monk’s Beard)

Quick tip: to make you agretti / herbs last longer . . .

Cut the ends of the stalks off with a SHARP knife and place in water in the fridge to make them last a lot longer! (Easily DOUBLE their longevity!)

I’m pretty busy with the markets so I made a simple (relatively unattended) healthy dish. 

Because it has a delicate flavour I thought I cook it using flageolet beans and a piece of place.

ingredients (serves 1)

for the baked place with monks beard
120g flageolet beans
200g chicken stock (1/2 cube + 200ml water)
1/2 lemon (don't forget to zest lemon before squeezing!)
1 small place
60g monk’s beard
15g butter

for the garnish
15g extra virgin olive oil 
lemon zest
monk’s beard fronds

First pick the agretti of the thick (larger than 3mm) stalks. Keep both stalks and finer leaves.

Then . . . 

Place the beans on some tin foil in a baking tray.

Add lemon zest.

Add 200g chicken stock.

Black pepper.

Put the place on top. . .

Add a little extra virgin olive oil & season with a little salt.

Top with some of the thick agretti stalks. (to stop the tin foil sticking to the skin)

Fold tin foil over leaving an opening for steam to escape. Place in a preheated oven @ 180C for 20 mins

Once out of the oven place the fish in a (warm) dish with the beans . . keep the stock for the agretti & sauce. 

Add half the butter to a hot pan. Melt it, add the agretti and toss it in the butter.
Cook for a couple of minutes.

Use the reserved stock to add to the pan with the agretti.

Include a few beans, and crush them smooth to add body to the sauce,
stir in and simmer for 2-3 minutes more. . .

Finally add the rest of the butter, a good squeeze of lemon juice,
and stir in to finish the sauce.

Top the fish with the agretti & sauce, drizzle a touch of extra virgin olive oil over the top,
and garnish with lemon zest.

Lush & healthy! Result!

Thanks Liam & Lu (Bengrove Market Garden) for the intro to a rather good veggie!!

This recipe will work well with pretty much any white fish.
If you’re veggie you could replace the fish with seared courgette halves.

Available in season (now obviously - posted July) from Castle Cary Market on Facebook

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