Rome at the table: An all-Roman delight, the Puntarelle salad!

Italy is renowned for its exceptional cuisine, and the city of Rome is no exception. In addition to the famous pizzas and pastas, Roman cuisine offers a wide range of delicious and unique dishes. One of these culinary treasures is Puntarelle salad, a fresh and crunchy dish that embodies the tradition and genuine flavors of Roman cuisine.

Puntarelle: An Introduction
Le Puntarelle, whose scientific name is Cichorium intybus var. foliosum, are a type of bitter salad originating from central Italy and, in particular, the Lazio region. This variety of chicory is known for its long narrow and jagged leaves reminiscent of small sceptres. Puntarelle are an essential part of Roman cuisine, often used to prepare salad or "puntarelle in salsa" as an appetizer or side dish.
Puntarelle salad is an irresistible mix of flavors and textures. The puntarellas themselves are crisp and slightly bitter, but the sauce made with anchovies and garlic gives a salty and rich flavor that perfectly balances the bitterness. The extra virgin olive oil gives a fruity note and the acid touch of red wine vinegar completes the harmony of flavors. It is a dish that perfectly represents Roman cuisine, simple but full of character.

The Preparation of Puntarelle Salad
Preparing a Puntarelle salad requires care and attention, but the result is an extremely tasty dish. Here’s how you do it:

Puntarelle (about 500 grams)
Garlic (1 clove)
Salted anchovies (4-6 fillets)
Extra virgin olive oil (3-4 tablespoons)
Red wine vinegar (1 tablespoon)
Salt q.b.
Black pepper q.b.

Start by cleaning the puntarelle. Cut off the outer leaves and remove any dry parts. Then, divide the markers in half lengthwise and, with a sharp knife, cut them into thin strips.
Put the strips of puntarelle in a bowl of ice water for about 30 minutes. This step makes the puntarelle crunchy and attenuates the bitterness.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a bowl, mash the garlic and add the finely chopped anchovies, extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Mix everything well and adjust salt and pepper according to your personal taste.
Drain the puntarelle and dry thoroughly.
Season the puntarelle with the sauce, making sure to cover them evenly.
Let the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to blend perfectly.
Before serving, you can add a splash of fresh lemon juice for a touch of extra freshness.

Puntarelle salad is an all-Roman’s delight that you should definitely not miss while visiting Rome or trying to bring the authentic flavors of Italy into your kitchen. Its preparation may take some time and attention, but the final result is definitely worth it. The next time you look for a fresh and tasty alternative to the usual salads, give Puntarelle a chance and enjoy an authentic Roman culinary experience. Bon appetit!

Do you want to stay in Rome?

For this location we recommend Hotel Oxford, the ideal starting point to discover Rome!

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