November 13, 2009

Strange but Wonderful

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.


  1. I love chicory but have never seen it like that, what a great find.

  2. Yum, Puntarelle salad, love it!!

  3. In Bologna we also get the long dark green leaf kind, here called Cicoria, this they call by the Roman name, Puntarelle.

    I like - LOVE - this one cold with anchovy, garlic, parsley and lemon; the dark leafy kind (love that too) hot with chilli and garlic. Both with olive oil of course.

  4. I really must try chicory, I keep looking at it in our supermarkets.

    How great to be able to get it cut as well. Your salad looks tasty, and we love achovies too!

  5. The chicory I ate in Calabria didn't look like this at all. Since I returned to the U.S. I have been able to find the variety I tried in Calabria.
    Tell me more about this chicory? Is it as bitter? Is it more tender? Or about the same?

    Thanks! Grazie!

  6. yes- there is a bitter leafy green called cicoria- the puntarelle are another kind of cicoria.

    We eat the bitter leafy one cooked, often sauted with garlic, olive oil and chili pepper flakes. In Sicily they add raisins and pinenuts.
    I adore the contrast.

  7. This looks fabulous! Can't wait to make it. We have chicory in New York, doesn't look quite like that, but I think it will do.

  8. I have never seen a chicory so inviting, thanks for the tasty recipe.

  9. One of my absolute favorites! Now that I don't have access to real puntarelle any more, I use the white heart of curly endive aka chicory to make the dish. Not quite the same, but the dressing is so delicious it's hard to go wrong!


  10. Ours look different from that one, a bit longer perhaps. Early in the season they are mild and I think would be great the way you describe. I'll have to try it your way. Later in the season they start to get bitter.