/Lampascioni, An Apulian Specialty

Lampascioni, An Apulian Specialty

lampascione

Lampascioni (pampasciuni ‘n salentinu) are walnut-sized hyacinth bulbs (not onions as they are often erroneously described) with a distinct bitter taste. They are native to Puglia and are prepared in a myriad of ways. I ate them for the first time in Lecce and they were served in agrodolce (sweet and sour), a preparation that cuts the bitter flavor while softening the bulbs; they are also served baked, roasted, or fried. Last night at Il Frantoio near Ostuni I ate them fried (una novita’), then soaked in orange honey.

Lampascioni are a great example of a regional product that derives from a poor tradition. They grow almost exclusively in Puglia and were consumed by the poor who would forage for them in fields. The same holds true for many of the herbs and greens found in the cucina pugliese. Now, these local products are a much sought mark of authenticity in one of Italy’s premier food regions.

2016-01-07T14:38:15+00:00 May 4th, 2009|Categories: Gastronomic Traditions, Puglia|20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. JP May 4, 2009 at 2:57 am - Reply

    This gives eating seasonally and locally a whole new meaning. Another reason for me to go back to Puglia.

  2. Katie May 4, 2009 at 5:21 am - Reply

    @JP we should return next spring to eat them in the traditional way-slow roasted with lamb.

  3. fserra May 4, 2009 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Lampascioni are great! And just think that they’re hardly known even in Italy outside of Puglia!

    • Katie May 4, 2009 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      @fserra its true! if you ask for them in Rome, Naples, or anywhere else or that matter, people have no idea what you are talking about. i love that about regional cuisine in Italy!

  4. Tom May 6, 2009 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Puglia’s version of Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion? Just kidding!

    PS–one should never look at this site at work BEFORE they have had lunch and cannot get away from their desk. I am sooooo hungry now!

  5. Katie May 8, 2009 at 12:43 am - Reply

    @Tom that is totally what they look like. I love awesome blossoms! dont judge me! 🙂

  6. Barbara August 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    I live in Naples and I will have to look for these as hard as I can. The ancient Roman writer Apicio said that these were considered aphrodisiacs, particularly encouraged for young couples during marriage ceremonies.

    The picture makes it look so delicious!

    Saluti di Napoli!
    Barbara

  7. Mike August 16, 2009 at 8:21 am - Reply

    It is true that most Italians, outside of Puglia and Basilicata, do not know of Lampascioni.

    I ate them at a hotel buffet in Gallipoli and they were great.

  8. Ssuely Gentile September 2, 2010 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    Lampascioni é conhecida pela minha família em várias gerações.A maior dificuldade é encontrá-la em natura.
    Se souberem aonde encontrar aqui no Brasil, agradeço.

    • Katie September 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Desculpe eu não sei onde encontrá-lo no Brasil. é muito local de Puglia e nós nem sequer tê-los em Roma!

  9. Freddy B December 29, 2010 at 4:18 am - Reply

    Our family called them “pampasciun” in dialect. It’s also a slang term for someone stupid or ineffective. I’m growing them in California (they do great here). Muscari comosum is the botanical name. you can sometimes find them in bulb catalogs.

  10. Katie January 2, 2011 at 3:15 am - Reply

    @Freddy B i’ve hear pampusciun and pampascuini, too. I think different parts of Puglia and Basilicata (maybe even calabria?) have different dialectic names for the same thing. how do you prepare them in your neck of the woods?

  11. JOE SIMEONE April 16, 2011 at 5:06 am - Reply

    I would love to know where to buy in the USA Lampascioni Bulbs. I was introduced to what my father called, cippolini’s and although I hated them when I was a kid, I have grown to love them in adulthood. For several years I was able to order them from a market in the North End section of Boston but that source dried up more than 15 years ago. We are in southern Italy every year and no one there has heard of these things.

  12. Victoria Curtis April 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    I have been searching for the lampasciioni (cippolini) for a few years. We use to be able to get them on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, NY. I was told that they can no longer be imported due to the fact that in Puglia they sprayed chemicals and are no longe allowed to import them to the US. My brother has been growing them for several years. I found out that it takes seven years to yield additional bulbs. We won’t be eating them any time soon.
    Should you ever find them I will buy them also.

  13. Pamela June 16, 2011 at 1:48 am - Reply

    I, too, have been searching for “cippolini” but have now discovered that they are called lampascioni. We used to get them on Burke Ave or Arthur Ave in the Bronx. During my search I noticed that Zingerman’s has them available in jars. I’m going to order them. I hope they are as good as my grandmother used to make.

  14. Rene DeCroce November 29, 2011 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    I am longing for lampascioni – WHERE or WHERE can I get them in NEW YORK?

    • Katie November 29, 2011 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      i asked that question to twitter and someone suggested eataly though i doubt they would have them. i think you are better off checking at some farmers markets and if you can’t find them there, suggest the farmers start planting them. you never know!

  15. paul lemple December 9, 2014 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    i uaed to get them on Staten Island ny np more

  16. Angela August 21, 2015 at 4:19 am - Reply

    My mother is from Torremaggiore Italy. I would love to buy some lampascioni for her. Where can I buy them on the east coast?

    Thank you!

    • Katie August 25, 2015 at 2:44 am - Reply

      no idea, angela! sorry, i live in italy and have no idea where they are sold in the US

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