Chicory Sprouts (Puntarelle) are a vegetable from the chicory family. It is traditional dish from Rome, served as antipasto, contorno or salad (mangiare in Italia).
Puntarelle are green and leafy and once pried apart the outer leaves, there is a crunchy center, full of pointy spears. Their taste is delightfully bitter.
First thing to do: clean the Puntarelle! It is a bit laborious and requires time, but in some supermarkets you can find the ready-to-eat version to make life easier!
Rinse under cold running water, pry apart the outer dark green leaves and then cut off each spear from the center that will be cut lengthwise into thin strips. Soak them into a bowl with ice and water for an hour until they curl up and lose part of their natural bitterness.
250 gr puntarelle
8 anchovy fillets, packed in oil or anchovy paste
200 gr mozzarella di bufala
In a glass mix the oil with the some drops of balsamic vinegar, do not add salt since the fillets are salty (If you are using the anchovy paste, just mix the oil with the paste). This is our dressing to pour on the puntarelle.
Once seasoned add the anchovy fillets, some diced mozzarella and enjoy with some warm bread.