Puntarelle Salad is a traditional Roman recipe. It seems very simple but it has a little work behind. It can be the perfect side for Fish dishes (with a simple preparation) or Barbecued Meat, but honestly, it is so good that it can be eaten without anything else.
for 3 people.
- 1 Puntarelle Head
- 2 or 3 Garlic Cloves
- White Wine Vinegar
- Extra Vergin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- The first things you need to do is to take off all the leaves from the puntarelle head as we’re going to use just the central part of the salad. Don’t throw away the leaves because they can also be cooked and eaten ( I will dedicate another post about it). For now, you can just blanch them and keep them refrigerated, or freeze them all for later. Fill half bowl of cold water and lemon juice ( Tip: usually for a medium-sized bowl, I squeeze half lemon, leaving the squeezed part inside the water), so to prevent the oxidation as puntarelle tend to go brown. Now slice any single part as thin as you can with a very sharp knife or, to ensure a good result, just use a mandolin. When you’re done, leave the stripes in very cold water for at least 30mins because they got to get curly. Here you can see if you did a good job of slicing, indeed if they are thin enough, they will turn curly pretty easily. If not, don’t worry people we learn from mistakes, it’ll be better next time. Always remember: traditionally Puntarelle MUST be curly.
- Whilst the puntarelle are bathing, you can prepare the dressing. Grate one clove of garlic in a small bowl, add at least 5 anchovies, 2Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and mash everything with a fork (Tip2: if you got a mortar is a right time to use it).Try to obtain a creamy dip; help yourself adding 2 Tbps of white wine vinegar.
- Now that your dressing is ready, drain the puntarelle and dress them up. Add some handbrake anchovies (Tip3: a lot) and some freshly ground pepper. Taste it, and in case of adjusting with salt (keep in mind that anchovies already gave sapidity to the dish), vinegar as you better like (usually it needs some more) and garlic. Serve it straight away, before they lose their crispy texture.
Puntarelle salad cannot be prepared too in advance because they tend to oxidate and becoming soft after dress.