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Puntarelle con la salsa (Chicory salad with anchovy dressing)

Serves 4

Romans generally allow about 1/4 pound of puntarelle per person. I have found that one large head of trimmed curly endive makes a generous salad. A mortar and pestle is traditional to mash the anchovies with the garlic, but you can also use a knife or a mini food processor.

1 head (about 1 pound) curly endive
3 whole salted anchovies or 6 anchovy fillets packed in oil
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1. Trim the curly endive. Cut away and discard the outer stems with darker green leaves, keeping the stalks with light green or yellow leaves. Separate the stalks and cut them in half or thirds or bite - size pieces. Place them in a large bowl of cold water and let them stand for about 30 minutes. Drain and dry in a salad spinner, and transfer to a serving bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. Meanwhile, if using salted anchovies, gently scrape off the salt with a sharp paring knife. Slit the belly and cut the fillets from the bones. Remove the backbone. It's OK to leave the skin on.

3. Pour 1/4 cup of the vinegar into a bowl. Swish the anchovies in the vinegar. Discard the vinegar and pour another 1/4 cup into the bowl. Swish the anchovies again in the clean vinegar. Dry them on paper towels. If using anchovies in oil, take them from the jar and drain them on paper towels.

4. Cut the garlic in several pieces and combine with the anchovies in a mortar, a mini food processor, or on a cutting board. Grind or chop the anchovies and garlic to make a paste. Transfer the remaining mixture to a bowl. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper, then the oil in a thin stream.

5. Toss the endive with the dressing. Adapted from Maureen Fant

More from The Boston Globe:
 COOKING LESSONS FROM ROME | CHICORY SALAD: Puntarelle con la salsa gets to the heart of Roman fare
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