It sometimes happens that Cheffy makes us something for dinner that we might not have seen before. With the abundance of seasonal produce around here, we're not surprised at occasionally finding a new variety of lettuce in our spring salad, or a new type of braising green with our pork chop. Thank goodness for google!
For the last few weeks, Cheffy's been cooking up a lot of puntarelle, a member of the chicory family that has long, white shoots and spiky leaves like a dandelion. Puntarelle has a pleasantly bitter taste; we like it 'cause it's fresh and crispy, and great for you!
Here's a very traditional and simple recipe for using puntarelle at home. Slicing the shoots length-wise and soaking them in ice water for about an hour has the effect of making the puntarelle curl, leaving you with a crisp, compact side salad. It has a dressing very much like a ceasar, and makes a wonderful accompaniment to heartier dishes.
Puntarelle alla Romana
You will need: one head puntarelle (thinly sliced length-wise and soaked in ice water for one hour), 2 cloves garlic, 5 salted anchovy filets, 2 tbs red wine vinegar, 5 tbsp good olive oil, pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper.
In a mortar and pestle, use the salt to grind the garlic to a fine paste.
In a separate bowl, combine the anchovies and vinegar until the anchovies have disintegrated.
Mix the garlic into the anchovy/vinegar mixture and stir in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Remove your puntarelle from the ice water bath, and dry carefully.
Stir the dressing again, then add to puntarelle curls and toss. Top with freshly ground black pepper.
Happy [Seasonal] Eating!