I adore when the seasons change in Italy, it is present in the colors on the trees, the dropping of the temperature, but most of all in the markets.
This weeks market treat was this strange but lovely Chicory plant, Cicoria, which is a speciality in Rome. I have seen it already cut and cleaned in the market, cut into little matchsticks with a special box with wires. I bought one of these boxes the last time I was down in Rome, but gave it away to a fellow cooking teacher that lived in France. I need to go back to Rome and get another one.
For todays salad I just separated the "fingers" and sliced as thin as I could. Perhaps not quite as delicate and pretty as the version I get in the markets, but fabulous the same.
The chicory is left to crisp in cold water, drained and then dressed simply with an olive oil and lemon juice vinegrette and chopped anchovies are added to the salad.
Almost like being in Rome!
If you are looking for this salad on a menu in Italy, the chicory is called Puntarelle.
There is nothing like anchovies you prepare yourself. I buy them packed in salt and then soak to remove salt. You can use just water or red wine vinegar.
Once softened, separate the fillets from the spine and place the anchovies in a container. Cover with olive oil ( EVO). I add some garlic and chili pepper flakes. It is also common to add salsa verde, a parsley and garlic sauce.