Bladder Campion, “Silene Vulgaris”
“Sclopit”

    • Prep Time
    • Minutes
    • Cook Time
    • Minutes
    • Difficulty Level

“Silene Vulgaris” in England is generally known as Bladder Campion from the shape of its flower’s calyx. It is a sprawling grassland perennial with thin stems and meaty and waxy grey-green leaves. It flowers from May to August, or even later, and its small white flowers are held by a “bladder-like” calyx. Maturing, the petals fall and the calyx dries out holding the seeds in, then it falls.

It is typical of the European area, but it can be found also in North America.

In Italy it is extremely common and has different peculiar names that can change from place to place, even from a village to the other. In our local dialect it is called “Sclopit” – from the verb “sclopâ”, which means “to pop” – because the green sealed calyx pops with noise when squeezed.

I couldn’t find so many news about its nutritive values and propertis, so I will simply say that it is delicious. Risotto with Silene is typical of Friuli, my region, and it’s one of the most beautiful dishes on Earth. But it can be also used to make frittata, or pasta, or as a filling for ravioli and even a smooth passata soup.

Here I will explain how to prepare it to be stored in freezer, but it would be even better if cooked directly from fresh.

Note for the users: please click on the label “HOW TO” to watch the slide-show of each cooking step.

 

Recipe Rating

  • (9 Rating)

Ingredients

  • Bladder Campion

  • Fresh running water

  • Fresh cold water

  • Boling water

  • Sterilising fluid for food - (use according to instructions)

  • Utensils

  • Two large bowls (or one large bowl and the kitchen sink)

  • One large saucepan

  • One skimmer

  • One medium bowl

  • One strainer

Instructions

  • 1.
    Cleaning the stems and tearing off the leaves

    • Bladder Campion

      Having picked just the stems, you should not have any soil attached to them, so separate the stems from other unwanted plants or grass and eliminate any other gross dirt.
      Then you have to separate the stems from the leaves, the only edible part of the plant. Hold a stem buy the top end with one hand - just under the bud, where the stem is stronger - and with the other, drive the finger tips down to the other end tearing off the leaves in one go. Then tear off the bud. Do this again until finished.

  • 2.
    Washing the leaves

    • Bladder Campion leaves
    • Cold water
    • Sterilising fluid for food - (use according to instructions)
    • Boiling water

    • Two large bowls (or one large bowl and the kitchen sink)
    • One large saucepan

      Clean the sink, fill it with fresh clean water and add the sterilising fluid according to its instructions.
      Chop off each end and bathe the leaves in the sink’s water. Let them rest for about 15 minutes or as long as the instructions say to be enough. Move them gently from time to time, so the dirt will fall on the bottom.
      Meanwhile, put the water to boil on a high heat. The quantities of water will depend on how much Bladder Campion you are going to blanch, but since it will be done all at once, the more water you bring to a constant boil, the quicker and more effective the bleaching will be.
      Take out the leaves and put them in a large bowl while you empty and clean the sink again.
      Fill the sink with fresh water only and repeat the bathing a couple of times until perfectly cleansed. Then, collect the leaves in one bowl draining off as much water as possible.
      You might notice a thin white film on the water surface at every wash. Do not worry: it is part of the oils that naturally coat the leaves.

  • 3.
    Blanching the leaves

    • The washed Bladder Campion
    • One large bowl full of cold water
    • The boiling water

    • One skimmer

      Fill one large bowl with cold water and put it as close as possible to the saucepan with the boiling water: it will be used to stop the cooking process which otherwise would continue, overcooking them.To help this process you might want to add some ice cubes to the cold water.
      Drop the Bladder Campion into the boiling water. Stir quickly and leave it there for no more than one minute: the leaves are very small and thin and you don’t want to ruin them. Use the skimmer to immerse all leaves into the water.
      With the skimmer, quickly drag the leaves out of the water and drop them into the cold water in the bowl.

  • 4.
    Chilling and draining the blanched leaves

    • The blanched leaves

    • One skimmer
    • One medium bowl
    • One strainer

      Let the leaves chill completely, then collect them with the skimmer and put them in a strainer which you place over a medium bowl. When completely drained, portion and store in the freezer.
      When needed, defrost them slowly on the counter or, even better, putting them in the fridge overnight. Do not use the microwave: it would ruin its texture and would degrade any trace of vitamins.

Instructions

  • 1.
    Cleaning the stems and tearing off the leaves

    • Bladder Campion

      Having picked just the stems, you should not have any soil attached to them, so separate the stems from other unwanted plants or grass and eliminate any other gross dirt.
      Then you have to separate the stems from the leaves, the only edible part of the plant. Hold a stem buy the top end with one hand - just under the bud, where the stem is stronger - and with the other, drive the finger tips down to the other end tearing off the leaves in one go. Then tear off the bud. Do this again until finished.

  • 2.
    Washing the leaves

    • Bladder Campion leaves
    • Cold water
    • Sterilising fluid for food - (use according to instructions)
    • Boiling water

    • Two large bowls (or one large bowl and the kitchen sink)
    • One large saucepan

      Clean the sink, fill it with fresh clean water and add the sterilising fluid according to its instructions.
      Chop off each end and bathe the leaves in the sink’s water. Let them rest for about 15 minutes or as long as the instructions say to be enough. Move them gently from time to time, so the dirt will fall on the bottom.
      Meanwhile, put the water to boil on a high heat. The quantities of water will depend on how much Bladder Campion you are going to blanch, but since it will be done all at once, the more water you bring to a constant boil, the quicker and more effective the bleaching will be.
      Take out the leaves and put them in a large bowl while you empty and clean the sink again.
      Fill the sink with fresh water only and repeat the bathing a couple of times until perfectly cleansed. Then, collect the leaves in one bowl draining off as much water as possible.
      You might notice a thin white film on the water surface at every wash. Do not worry: it is part of the oils that naturally coat the leaves.

  • 3.
    Blanching the leaves

    • The washed Bladder Campion
    • One large bowl full of cold water
    • The boiling water

    • One skimmer

      Fill one large bowl with cold water and put it as close as possible to the saucepan with the boiling water: it will be used to stop the cooking process which otherwise would continue, overcooking them.To help this process you might want to add some ice cubes to the cold water.
      Drop the Bladder Campion into the boiling water. Stir quickly and leave it there for no more than one minute: the leaves are very small and thin and you don’t want to ruin them. Use the skimmer to immerse all leaves into the water.
      With the skimmer, quickly drag the leaves out of the water and drop them into the cold water in the bowl.

  • 4.
    Chilling and draining the blanched leaves

    • The blanched leaves

    • One skimmer
    • One medium bowl
    • One strainer

      Let the leaves chill completely, then collect them with the skimmer and put them in a strainer which you place over a medium bowl. When completely drained, portion and store in the freezer.
      When needed, defrost them slowly on the counter or, even better, putting them in the fridge overnight. Do not use the microwave: it would ruin its texture and would degrade any trace of vitamins.

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