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.

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  • Puntarelle are something else. You’re described them very well – not an easy task.

    They are cruel too, given they are seasonal and limited to Rome, it seems. Oh, how I miss them.

    Be aware of soggy versions from the day before. That is a crime!

  • Katie

    The only good thing about puntarelle going out of season is that artichokes, fave and peas are coming in.

  • if you love puntarelle please please go to tutti frutti on via luca della robbia (testaccio). i adore puntarelle and have had them all over rome and havent been able to find anything as good as michele’s creation. wish i had tried augustarello. shall make a trip there, next time i am in rome in the spring. thank you.

  • Katie

    @exromana Thanks for the tip on Tutti Frutti. Ive gotta make it there. When you go to Augustarello we will compare notes!

  • i love new vegetables. looks amazing :-)

  • Katie

    have you ever seen it in NYC?

  • puntarelle is the best thing in the world… tried it in Rome and drool for it!

  • if your in London you can get it in the borough markets.

  • Katie

    good to know, but what are the borough markets? sorry i am completely clueless about things that go on north of rome.

  • they are some food markets in London… very cool for foodies.

  • Katie

    i’ve been there and am now no longer out of the loop. i even posted this recently.

  • I asked if the restaurant had them when I was in Roma at Christmastime. They were not on the menu. They did, I ordered them and swooned they were so delicious.

    What can we have here in the NYC/NJ area that could approximate puntarelle?

  • Katie

    Hmm not sure what you can find in NYC/NJ. They werent available when I lived there but that was a long time ago…

  • […] when everything was poorly seasoned or badly cooked, except for the contorno, a bowl of crisp puntarelle with anchovy sauce. We were left with full stomachs but both of us somehow felt empty inside. The […]

  • Well folks, I have just found puntarelle in Milan. We saw someone eating this amazing vegetable and immediately went to the local market it buy it. Luckily we were driving back to our house in France and I have prepared it for dinner. We are both totally enamoured with this delicate, crispy vegetable. Please can someone import this to London and we can have this on Italian menus!

  • Katie

    Gill, im sure they are on menus in london, though perhaps as a special in places that are in tune to such lovely seasonal specialties. it strikes me as something stevie parle may do at dock kitchen. i am SURE i have seen them elsewhere but my memory fails me!

  • […] for så er det jo et helt år til neste aprikos-fest.. Det samme gjelder for Agretti, Artisjokk, Puntarelle, kastanjer. Kaker har sine tider og begeistring over gjensynet driver samtaler og føtter inn på […]

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