Bruscandoli (Hop shoots)


For just a very short period of time, you can gather the tender, young hop shoots, and make a delicious meal of them. I almost missed my window this year, but luckily caught some just in time. Harvest only the very tender ends, about 10-12". If you go beyond that, they are woody and tough, and not fit to eat. Harvesting by hand makes it easier to tell just where they snap off easily. If you have to finagle it, you've gone too far into the tough part. 

I have a couple hop plants in my backyard. I adore the way they clamber all over my fence and create a wall of lush green in summer. By the end of the season the hop flowers or cones come out, spilling everywhere. I leave some of the dried cones on the fence, because in wintertime they catch the snow and remind me of lace.

Last year I made a wreath out of the fresh cones, and it's still on my front door. It's faded now, but I've enjoyed keeping a bit of summer around throughout the year. I'll probably make another wreath in September. If so, I'll post directions so you can make one of your own if you like.

This year I decided to add anchovies to my hop tips, because I love anchovies, and because it was Mother's Day, and I was the only Mother around, I made them just how I wanted!

I put about a tablespoon of coconut oil in a heated wok, then added a couple cloves of chopped garlic. Cook for about 30 to 60 seconds, just until fragrant, then add your chopped hop shoots. Stir fry for a couple minutes, then add 5-6 chopped anchovy fillets, about a tablespoon of lemon vinegar, salt and pepper. Smoosh the anchovies into the liquid to make sort of a paste and stir into the shoots. Then I added about a half pint of halved cherry tomatoes. Because the skins were so thick and tough, when the tomatoes were cooked enough, I pinched the skins off and discarded them. 

I hope if you have the opportunity to try hop shoots some time, you'll do so. They are delicious, and reminiscent of asparagus.

Buon Appetito!

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