A Taste of Spring in Rome--At Home
These are many fabulous reasons to be in Rome in the Spring. At the top of my list is the fact that it's the season for puntarelle, a funny-looking, stemmy bitter green that's featured in a salad on almost every traditional restaurant in town. To make the salad, the crisp and juicy stems are cut into strands, sometimes mixed with bits of the deep green leaves and tossed in a tangy and highly seasoned anchovy dressing. Puntarelle is hard to find here, and the few heads I've gotten at farmers' market have been inedibly bitter--and I love bitter things! The good news is that you can make a delicious stunt double of the Roman classic with celery and dandelion. Last night, I made it with with young (and bitter and tough) dandelion greens that a friend picked last weekend and it was divine. Simply follow Maremma chef Cesare Casella's recipe for celery salad, mixing in a bunch of chopped or scissor-snipped dandelion greens.