As we say in Denmark - a dear child has many names - and this goes for the monk's beard as well - here in bella Italia you might find it as Agretti or Barba di Frate.
But look for these really dark green bundles - looks almost like big chunky chives bundled up - fleshy green leaves - with a slight smell of salty sea.
Well today we mostly eat it - and we use it a lot - we really appreciate the salty and slightly acidic quality - we eat it raw, we blanch it for a cooked salad, throw it into pasta with lemon and bottarga or in a creamy riso - it's great as a side for fish. As an antipasti - this is a perfect dish - Agretti alla Romana....
2 bunches of monk's beard, about 1 kg
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
Start by rinsing the agretti - this is a bit time consuming - so if the weather is great - this is done best on a bench with a glass of vino. Pick of the fleshy leaves and make sure to remove the roots and the tough woody stems. Wash really well to remove all the dirt.
Cook the eggs for about 8 minutes, until hard boiled. Rinse under cold water and peel. Chop the eggs fairly fine and place in a bowl. Add the vinegar and mix well - now pour in the olive oil while stirring - you you get a creamy sauce/dressing. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the monk's beard for about a minute, drain and refresh under cold water. Leave it to drain and shake of excess water.
Place in a bowl, add the sauce and mix gently.