Thursday, June 21, 2012

Anchovy-Caper Chicory Catalogna Puntarelle Salad

Well that is a long name! I got this Chicory Catalogna Puntarelle from our CSA this week. This veggie is a bitter, leafy green. You can see it in the picture below. Its' end starts right above the cherries. It is sandwiched between the sage (left) and swiss chard (right).
Needless to say, I had never heard of this veggie. Apparently it is pretty hard to come by in the US. Many people in Rome cook with this. Well, people in Rome and Mario Battali on occasion when he can get his hands on some. I had no idea what to do with this veggie but I was intrigued. There are not many recipes online for it either. But of the few that I could find, I saw a trend: caper, anchovy, see where I am going here? So I decided to make up my own recipe.

This dinner was a labor of love as my back was aching after the day. Dr says I'm on my way in this recovery but I am not quite there yet. Anyway, I digress. I attempted to soak the chicory in cold water for an hour but that didn't take out any of the bitterness so I ended up blanching it. If I had to make it again I think I would skip the first step and just blanch it. It didn't take out all the bitterness but combined with the dressing it was just fine to eat. If you can't get your hands on any chicory, I would use this dressing on romaine, dandelion greens, or maybe even arugula. It is super healthy as it hardly uses any oil.

To make this a complete meal, I served the salad with polenta and panko crusted chicken. The plain taste of the polenta complemented the complex flavor of the chicory.

Serves 2-3.
WW= 1 point for the dressing (for 3 servings)

1 head chicory catalogna puntarelle (or other bitter leafy green)
2 cloves garlic
7 anchovies
1 1/2 T capers
juice from 1 lemon
1 t extra virgin olive oil
freshly grated sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1. In a large pot filled with cold water, soak the chicory for one hour (optional - see notes above). Then remove chicory (without draining pot) and bring water to a boil.
2. Place chicory in boiling water, turn heat off, and partially cover pot. After 3 minutes drain the chicory.
3. While chicory is being prepared, mash garlic cloves to a paste in a mortar and pestle.
4. Finely chop the anchovies.
5. Add anchovies, capers, lemon juice, and olive oil in with the garlic in the mortar and pestle. Continue to mash together until combined.
6. Stir dressing into chicory and season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.

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