puntarelle

Before moving to Rome I had never heard of, much less seen, puntarelle. Given the local, seasonal nature of produce in Italy, this isn’t really surprising. Most Venetians, Sicilians, and Neapolitans don’t know about them either. Puntarelle are a type of chicory with jagged leaves surrounding a fiberous, internal stalk. This stalk is sliced into thin shreds lengthwise and the pieces are soaked in water (big plastic vats at my local market) so they curl up. The crisp, fresh, waterlogged product is drained and topped with an anchovy dressing, a mixture of pulverized fish, lemon juice, oil and garlic. We are reaching the end of puntarelle season so be sure to order them as a contorno (vegetable side dish) while you can still find them. I had a huge bowl of them this weekend at Augustarello in Testaccio, knowing that in a matter of weeks they will disappear from Roman menus together.