Monk’s Beard, Agretti or Barba del Frate in Italian, is a typical Mediterranean plant with thin long leafy bright green similar to pine needles, only longer, or even to samphire, the sea asparagus.
Typical of the springtime, it is a poor vegetable of the peasant tradition, widely used in the regions of Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and Lazio where it is included in some traditional recipes as the main ingredient such as Agretti salad or just sautéed with anchovies and chilli pepper as they do in Rome, as well as in pasta or risotti or in a frittata and even in savoury pies. However, can be eaten also raw.
You don’t need to boil them a lot, just blanched them for 3 or 4 minutes at the most to keep a slightly meaty texture.
Finally, they are particularly suitable for low-calorie diets as they contain a lot of water, are rich in fibre.