Lampascioni ( Lam-pa-sho-nee ) are very common bulbs in the areas of Southern Italy and they grown mainly in Apulia and Basilicata, They belong to the same family as garlic, but its bulbs are more similar in appearance to button onions: they share the same tight-layered structure and that’s why they are also called wild button onions.
You can find Lampascioni in markets all over Italy by now.
They have a quite bitter taste and for this reason, once collected and cleaned well by removing all the soil and the outer part of the bulb, they are left immersed in cold water for at least one night.
In this way they eliminate some of their pretty intense taste (but never completely, after all it is their much appreciated characteristic!).
Lampascioni are quite rich in mineral salts, low-calorie, antibiotics, purifying agents. In addition to this, they reduce the risk of heart disease, Lampascioni prevent inflammation, have emollient properties, help to lower fat and blood sugar and to reduce high-blood pressure and have such a beautiful blue/lilac bloom as you can see in the photo below by Hans Braxmeier.
How to cook Lampascioni?
Start by cutting a cross in the bottom, you can simply boil and season them with salt, pepper, spices and olive oil or also breaded and fried. Lampascioni croquettes are a delicacy!
However, they can be also added to frittata also baked sometimes along with potatoes and delightful as a side-dish to lamb, a very popular second dish in Apulia.
They are also preserved in vinegar and oil as an apulian antipasto.
Curiously enough, the word ‘lampascione’ is also used in a good-natured way as a synonym of dumb person.