Salsola soda. Barilla plant. Barba di frate. Friar’s beard. Agretti. We find many names for those we love. And we do love this springtime Mediterranean succulent. It has a grassy spinach-y taste, a crisp texture and a vibrantly green colour. Last week, I stumbled across it in the newly opened gourmet shop Frischeparadies in Basel. As agretti has a very short season, I knew this Italian delicacy is to be enjoyed now or never. I opted for now.
Onion mayonnaise: Simmer two yellow onions in water seasoned with salt, black pepper, thyme and bay leaf until soft. Add 50 ml prosecco and reduce until almost no liquid remains. Remove the bay leaf and blend until smooth. Add an egg yolk, continue blending with an immersion blender and slowly add 100 ml olive oil in tiny drops.
Sautéed agretti: Clean 500 g agretti and sauté it with chopped garlic in olive oil. Season with fleur de sel and black pepper.
Seared scallops: Sear 100 g scallops in olive oil. Season with fleur de sel.
Assembly: Place a seared scallop on sautéed agretti in a scallop shell. Top with onion mayonnaise.