The plant Salsola Soda has leaves and shoots that grow on the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean. The plant is salty, salsola, and it is rich in alkaline, soda: the name honors these twin sources, which, once burnt to ashes, become sodium carbonate, used to manufacture glass.
“Salsola soda, known in Italy as Agretti, is not native to the UK and consequently not part of our culinary tradition. Hopefully that will start to change.” Peter Wrapson.
They only grow in the Mediterranean basin and during their season from March to May are as sought after as truffles.
“The famed clarity of 16th-century cristallo glass from Murano and Venice depended upon the purity of Levantine soda ash, and the nature of this ingredient was kept secret.” Wikipedia
Agretti come from the family of spinach, chives, and salicornia. They are delicate enough to boil in salt water for 3 minutes and eat al dente. They only need lemon juice dressing.
They marry perfectly with oden, made with seaweed bonito broth (awase dashi), slow boiled daikon, carrots, soft boiled eggs, sweet tofu, fish cakes, in between a crispy fish or vegetable croquet コロッケ and mustard okonomi sauce.
Italian: Ramen con Agretti Japanese: ソーダおでん Soda Oden English: Stalwort Ramen Dutch: Monniksbaard Ramen