Spring is in full bloom here in Slovenia, which means it’s also prime time for foraging spring greens like dandelion, ramsons (wild garlic), wild asparagus, nettles, edible flowers and herbs etc. Much like mushrooms in autumn, wild garlic is infamous in spring for food poisonings, because it closely resembles lilies of the valley, a rather mean poisonous plant, but that doesn’t stop city people like me from venturing out and about with a foraging bag. Scratch that, I buy my wild garlic at the farmers’ market and my grandparents brought me quite the supply of dandelion greens this year, but ’tis the season for foraging anyway.
So, what do you do with all these spring greens you may ask? Well, soups and salads are the usual option, but there’s also a traditional Slovenian dish that always pops up in spring: frtalja, fritaja, fritata or frittata in Italian, which also seems to be the English word for it. Not surprisingly, it comes from the coastal Primorska region, which shares a border with Italy and every single village has their own word and recipe for it, which is how you know it’s a true traditional dish.
Frtalja closely resembles an omelette and some people make it with eggs only, so in that case it actually is an omelette. It’s usually made from a combination of eggs, flour and milk/water and almost always with herbs or spring greens, sometimes even with bacon or cheese or pretty much anything you have in the fridge. I like mine with lots of garlic, herbs or greens and of course, cheese.
Frtalja with garlic and dandelion greens recipe
- 6 eggs
- 6 tablespoons white all purpose flour
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 dl (0.5 cup) milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons ground pecorino cheese
- 4 cups (1 litre) fresh dandelion greens
- salt and black pepper
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Chop the garlic and wash dandelion greens. Heat up a large pan, pour in a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the garlic and dandelion greens until they’re nicely wilted. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and stir in flour, milk, salt and pecorino and pour in the pan, mixing it with the dandelion greens. Cook until the bottom separates from the pan as if you were making a pancake, then flip it over and cook on the other side for a few minutes more. Serve with a freshly ground black pepper and enjoy!
Frtalja is a hearty meal on it’s own with a soup or a side salad, or it can serve as a side dish. It’s also still pretty nice when its cool, so it makes for a great and simple take-to-work lunch as well. This recipe is enough for about 2-3 people if you also include a side dish.
Since frtalja is practically an omelette, this is obviously not much of an epic original recipe, but rather what I hope will become a discussion of egg stuff and foraging. I love how every country has their own version of an omelette and their own name for it, so come share in the comments! What are the typical spring greens people forage in your country? And what’s your particular egg dish?
P.S.: Find more ideas on how to eat dandelion here.
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