A variant of chicory, this sublime vegetable is on every proper Roman menu at this time of the year. With its elongated bulb shape, light green stems and dandelion shaped leaves, it has beautiful bitter character that comes to life when dressed with the best extra virgin olive oil plus some anchovy, a little garlic, some lemon.
It has the ability to take you on a journey to Rome whenever you taste it.
You have to find the right variety of Puntarelle with long shoots in order to get it to curl properly. Finely slice or push through a taglia puntarelle (yes, there is a specific tool for this) and then drop in iced water with the other half of the lemon. Leave for about 45 minutes and it will begin to curl.
I usually make the dressing in a pestle and mortar so that there is a slight texture remaining.