Puntarelle in anchovy sauce

Puntarelle in salsa d’alici

Puntarelle in anchovy sauce was a bit of a revelation to me. The elegant combination of savoury, bitter and salty flavours makes the salad so addictive I have already started looking forward to the next season.

In Denmark people have not yet learned to love chicory, which may explain and perhaps also excuse why it took me more than ten years to try out the ‘puntarelle’ roots that Italians seem to cherish. Puntarelle – which in Italy is also known as ‘cicoria di catalogna’, ‘cicoria asparago’ or in my local Puglian market stalls as ‘cicoria spigata’ are long heads of salad with dandelion-shaped leaves and tender shoots or flower stems in the middle. It is mainly the shoots and the stems that are appreciated for their elegant bitter taste, delightful curls and crisp texture.

The curls form when puntarelle stems are sliced thinly lengthwise and placed in iced water. The curls are almost impossible to eat without leaving traces of oily dressing down every shirtfront. The mess can be avoided by cutting the stems across in small o-shaped slices. It tastes terrific both ways, but the unruly curls are so much more fun.

½ head of puntarelle (10 sprouts)
1 tbsp capers
1 clove of garlic
2 anchovies in olive oil
3 tbsp olive oil

Clean the puntarelle thoroughly and slice them lengthwise as thinly as possible.
Leave the sliced puntarelle in iced water until they start to curl.
Chop or grind capers, garlic and anchovies to a thick paste using a sharp knife or a pestle.
Emulsify the paste with olive oil and pour it over the puntarelle before serving.
Punterelle in anchovy sauce goes well with all kinds of salami and grilled meats.

If you like puntarelle in anchovy sauce you might also want to try:

Pasta with zucchini and anchovies

Green beans with anchovies

Lamb in garlic sauce

Puntarelle in anchovy sauce

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