November to February is puntarelle season. This bitter, crunchy, watery green and its traditional preparation are distinctly Roman and are enjoyed in restaurants and homes throughout the city.
Puntarelle or “little tips” refers to the tips or the tender shoots of Catalonian chicory. The preparation is fairly tedious as the plants are cleaned and the shoots are removed and split before being soaked to make them curl. In Rome, you can buy the pre-split and soaked greens at most grocery stores and markets.
- 3 anchovies
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- About 1lb or 500g split and soaked puntarelle
Mash together anchovies, garlic and vinegar with a mortar and pestle. Add olive oil and blend to make a dressing. Toss the dressing with the puntarelle. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.
If you can’t find puntarelle, the dressing can used with other strongly flavored greens like radicchio or curly endive.