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Mar 30, 2010 03:47 AM

cipolle selvagge

They are about 1.5" in diameter; a light rose color inside, a little darker outside; sold without the shoots.

We bought these against the advice of the vendor who was selling them! He told us they are no good unless one knows how to cook them and neither he nor his wife knows how to cook them. Always up for a challenge, I figured I'd take 'em home and google it, but I'm not coming up with anything. I washed one off, opened it up, and took a taste of the raw onion - it's very starchy and not at all hot.

Anyone cooked these before? Do they by any chance have a more specific name?

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  1. As far as I can make out, it's also called asfodelo, and the only recipe I could find said that the blooms/shoots/whatever can be used in a pasta sauce, but that the tuber itself is not used domestically, only industrially to make something similar to potato starch.

    1. This is not the right board for this. In any case, you don't say where you bought them. They sound like lampascioni (spelled variously), which are inedible unless you know how to prepare them, which starts with about two days of soaking in water. They are not onions, just cousins. They are more closely related to hyacinth bulbs and are typical of Puglia.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mbfant

        I'm sorry, I should have mentioned that we bought them at a market in Rome. Since I have never seen or heard of them anywhere outside of Italy and "wild onion" isn't exactly descriptive, I figured I'd ask the people who are familiar with the markets in Italy.

        At any rate, thank you. They do look like lampascioni and that certainly gives me a lot more to work with.

        1. re: sarasophia

          If you bought them at Testaccio from the short man with gray hair whose wife is the only decent artichoke trimmer left in the market, they are definitely lampascioni.

          1. re: mbfant

            I bought them at the Magna Grecia market in San Giovanni, but I am quite certain now that they are lampascioni.

      2. Amazing, I lived through exactly the same scene with my Italian market vendor here in Brussels! Didn't want to sell me because I didn't know how to prepare them, and neither did he. He even claimed there was nothing about them on the internet.
        Well he was wrong:
        Enjoy the many recipes.