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Puntarella Chicory is available during the winter months.
Puntarella, botanical name Cichorium intybus, is an herbaceous perennial grown as an annual fresh market green.
Puntarella is chicory variety that is comparatively unique in its appearance versus common chicory. Its base is creamy white and dense with thick white and green hollow shoots and branching toothy serrated elongated greens that come to a point. Puntarella is known for its crispy texture and its peppered and sharp flavor characteristic of chicory plants. Its shoots are less robust than its greens with flavor undertones reminiscent of fennel, the appearance of white asparagus and a textural crunch of celery.
There are two common preparations of Puntarella. The leafy greens and shoots are served raw in a rich dressing of anchovies, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice or white wine vinegar. The assertiveness of the dressing compliments the sharp flavors of Puntarella. The other method is also very traditional. The sprouts and greens are julienned into thin strips and soaked in ice cold water with or without lemon juice. The slices curl up, bitter flavors mellow and the Puntarella becomes succulent. Complimentary pairings include feta, olives, bacon, caviar, cream based dressings, forest mushrooms, gorgonzola or ripening cheeses, green onions, basil and mint.
Chicory has historically been used as a beverage for several centuries, together with coffee or along with coffee substitutes. The root is roasted and ground to a powder that is added to coffee or coffee substitutes. Cultivars specifically grown for their roots are most commonly grown in France, Germany, Belgium and Poland.
Puntarella is a descendant of the wild chicory species that is native to western Asia and central Russia. Puntarella originated along the Catalonia coastline of Lazio Gaeta, northwest of Naples. It is a cools season crop that prefers temperate climates. Though far more common in Italy than anywhere else, it has been naturalized in other regions throughout the Northern and Western Hemispheres.
Recipes that include Puntarella. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Martha Stewart||Fried Chicken with Puntarella Salad|
|The New York Times||Puntarella with Green Anchoïade|
People have spotted Puntarella using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
Produce Spotting allows you to share your produce discoveries with your neighbors and the world! Is your market carrying green dragon apples? Is a chef doing things with shaved fennel that are out of this world? Pinpoint your location annonymously through the Specialty Produce App and let others know about unique flavors that are around them.