Springtime in the region brings with it the bounty of wild herbs and edible plants, among them, the much awaited ”Sclopit” or Silene Vulgaris, a wild green that grows almost everywhere. The name Sclopit is derived from a childhod game when children would pick the flowers and pop them between their palms making a little explosive “poof” sound (schiopettare means “popping”).
Because foraging in Springtime is popular here, be aware that the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia has strictly enforced guidelines for what can be picked, how much and where. There are 19 types of Silene that may be picked and you are limited to 1 kilogram per person, per day.
Silene has an erbaceous very delicate flavor, similar to that of sugar snap peas.
While people make frittate and flans with Sclopit – the overall favorite is risotto. It is usually served as a first course alone, although I served it as a side to a delicious, hand made pork sausage prepared by my Slovenian friend’s husband.
Risotto with Sclopit
Ingredients (for four people)
- 6 cups of vegetable broth fresh or store bought — or — blanch the sclopit leaves and use that as the liquid for the risotto
- 2 cups of sclopit roughly chopped (at the price posted in the photo above i used about 4 Euros worth)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped leeks
- 2 knobs of butter one to use at the start and one at the end
- 2 Tbs EV olive oil
- 2 cups of Carnaroli rice
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese or local aged Montasio cheese
Wash and clean the sclopit removing the tougher stems and rough chop it.
In a saucepan, sautee the leeks in the oil and the first knob of butter until transluscent. Add the sclopit, salt and cook for a few minutes until wilted.
Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the white wine, letting the rice absorb it. Then add the broth a little at a time, stirring constantly until the rice is almost cooked. Then add grated cheese and let it go for a few minutes. Add the 2nd knob of butter, stir well, turn off the heat and let stand a few minutes before serving. Some add a little grated Montasio cheese on top when served.
Friulano wine pairs well with this dish.
…and if you have any leftovers, the next day you can take them and make a little pan-fried rice torte using just a little evoo and butter….Yummy!