Odd food in Argentina

  • A few months ago, a sweet Peruvian couple opened a vegetable store three block from here. The prices are extremely competitive, the assortment has been improving tremendously, and sometimes they care odd vegetables and fruits that are familiar to them, but quite a rarity here in Buenos Aires.

    Recently, I have been purchasing this kind of wild broccoli 🥦 whose loca name is unknown to me. There is no sign in the vegetable shop and my feeble attempt to understand the name being said by the Peruvians has been unsuccessful. Do you know what is the name?

    I love it: I cut the sprouts, boil them and eat them with pasta.
    I cut the leaves and eat them like spinach leaves. The coarser part of the leave (the stem), I dice it and put it in soups.

    It is sold in a bouquet, with the leaves folded to reveal the sprout. In the last picture I am showing the full length.

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  • I’ve never seen that, but would love to try it. Where are they located, serafina ?

    I’m fascinated by your uses of the leaves and stems. Do you use these parts in ordinary broccoli too?

    I never knew that carrot stems & leaves were edible until the verdulería man told me last year.

    (Warning: lacy & delicate but bitter.)

  • They are on Lavalleja and Cabrera. The place is called 'Verdulería Cabrera'. These kind of raw broccolis (apparently, their English name is Wild Broccoli Rabe and in Italian cime di rapa, which are very popular in Apulia, where they are used in their typical orecchiette alle cime di rapa) are not always available, but sometimes they have stuff in the room below, so you need to be able to ask for them in Spanish. Hence, my question on their Spanish name!

    Below: orecchiette alle cime di rapa


    I don't use the same technique with ordinary broccolis, although I see no reason it couldn't be done. I think the broccoli stem is not much flavored, especially if it is big, anyway. As for the broccoli leaves, they are more coarse than these, especially big older ones (like kale). You can always julienne them and put them in soup, instead.

    But I'd like to share a recent finding on using this technique to take the maximum advantage from beetroot. I had never known that beetroot leaves are edible and they are DELICIOUS.

    Often beetroot are sold with no stem nor leaves, or when you buy beetroots the seller always asks if you want him/her to cut off the leaves. If they are looking good (green, fresh, with no spots and not yellowish), it is a great idea to bring them home.

    How to cook the whole beetroots:

    1) the root itself can be done "al cartoccio" in the oven: you cut the root, wash it well under running water, fold it in tin foil and bake in the oven for 30-40' at max power (tip: cut the pointing base so that it stays put). After it is baked, they can be easily peeled off. (alternatively, you can peel them before baking, but you'll stain your hands and some claim they will be less flavored). I have them in salad, with olive oil and salt, some ground white pepper maybe. Or you can use them in soup, but they must be the main ingredient in order to appreciate the smoked flavor (much more richer than simply boiled beetroots)

    2) the stem can be diced and put in soup. You can purée it with the blender or eat it diced, as it is soft once cooked. Some cook stems & leaves together (see below).

    3) The leaves are so tasty I can't believe I have lived 35+ years without ever trying them. I cook them like kale or spinach, i.e. I take a pan, put some seed oil and either julienned onions or garlic cloves in half. If you use the onions, wait for them to cook until soft. If you use garlic, wait just 1-2 minutes.

    Then add the leaves, soaked wet and cover with the pot lid. Leave it to cook for about 10', then stir a little. They will cook using the water they contain and the water from washing them.

    In the past I used to *boil* spinach and leaves, but I found out it is not necessary - they can cook on their own.


  • Sure it's not second crop broccoli?

    Once you cut the large compact florets - the one we usually buy and eat - the plant will continue to sprout several more which can also be used. Most commercial growers don't usually bother with them but small growers do.

  • I’m in the US now, in Mississippi, and bought a similar (though florets and slim stalks only, no leaves) product this week. Here it is called Baby Broccoli, and cooking instructions say “Stir fry for 3 minutes with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a touch of garlic. Garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or shredded Parmesan cheese for an extra bit of flavor.”

  • I agree with the recipe. The florets are very tender and quick to cook.

    I have seen it advertised as grelo in our local verdulería, though my students say it is not the same thing as grelo. I guess that it is the presentation that is off-putting. Some google images show leaves only, other florets only, and some florets + leaves. This may be the reason of so many controversy on what grelo is.

    Fun fact: it seems that grelo is hugely popular in Galicia, where they have a Feria del grelo. In 2015 google decided to translate it as "Clitoris fair'. apparently, google translated it from Portoguese, where grelo is an informal term for the female anatomic part.

    They say you need to tickle people's mind for them to remind foreign words, and this is surely effective. :th_giggle01:

    No words on the affluence to the clitoris fair, though! 8)



  • Is Swiss chard exactly the same as acelga, or a near approximation?

    From the picture on the Internet, it looks the same thing!

    Ricotta made here is very dry - true fresh ricotta is more creamy and you can spread it on bread. The Argentinian one will just crumble. I think the only chance at a creamy ricotta is to go to Santi, but prepare to spend $300 on a piece of cheese. It may be worth a visit NEXT week, though ;)

  • You can easily make your own cottage cheese...a search on YouTube returns lots of recipes. And if my greek yogurt is anything to go by it might even taste better than anything you'd buy in a shop.

  • All good advice, but I should have explained that I was just looking for cottage cheese as an ingredient for a quick recipe. If it requires making the cheese first, not so quick. And at $300, it makes the humble cheese bread not worth the effort. thank you both, though!

    I remember reading about Santi on the forum. I’d like to get other cheeses there. Thanks for the reminder.