One of nature's perfect foods here in Italy is enjoying its very short season. Agretti, also known as barba di frate (monk's beard), is a grassy vegetable which normally grows in marshy lands. When it is very young and tender it can be used as a component in a salad. Its slightly astringent flavor betrays its high iron content. It is also a good source of Vitamin A.
My favorite way to enjoy agretti is in a quick sautee of olive oil, garlic, peperoncino and just a touch of grated lemon rind.
It is the ideal bed for broiled fish, or an excellent general side dish. It's just a shame that the season is so short!