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Puntarelle, Properties, And Benefits

Puntarelle are tasty and nutritious vegetables with a bitter taste. They are widespread above all in Lazio and Campania. However, they can be found throughout Indian and used to prepare a tasty side dish. What are the beneficial properties of chicory? Puntarelle is chicory sprouts with draining and antioxidant properties. Furthermore, they are low in calories and can also be consumed in the case of a slimming diet.

Puntarelle, What They Are

Puntarelle is the sprouts of Catalonian chicory, a variety of chicory also known as “asparagus chicory.” The latter has a central tuft with broad white ribbed leaves, a narrow and elongated shape, and dark green leaves with jagged edges. In the internal and central area of ​​the head of the Catalonian chicory, the sprouts from which the chicory is obtained are born with a tender and crunchy consistency and a bitter taste. 

Chicory And Chicory

Often there needs to be clarity between chicory and chicory; let’s see the main differences between chicory and chicory. Chicory ( Cichorium intybus ) is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Composite family and includes several varieties, including wild chicory, sugarloaf, or Catalonian chicory. It is precisely from the latter that sprouts that we call “puntarelle” derive. Therefore, Puntarelle and Catalonian chicory derive from the same species, but Puntarelle represents only one component of the plant. Both have a bitterish taste and a crunchy texture which concerns, in particular, the chicory and the white rib of the chicory leaves.

Puntarelle, Nutritional Values , And Calories

100 g of chicory provides:

  1.  24 kcal
  2. Protein 1.8g
  3. Lipids 0.5 g
  4. Carbohydrates 3.2 g
  5. Sugars 3 g
  6. Fiber 3.1 g 

The Benefits

Among the foremost beneficial properties of chicory and, therefore, of chicory, we find:

  1. Draining properties;
  2. antioxidant properties;
  3. digestive properties;
  4. promote intestinal well-being ;
  5. cholesterol levels improve ;
  6. blood sugar levels improve;
  7. strengthen the immune system.

The Season Of Chicory

The puntarelle is eaten roughly from February to May; the puntarelle season is mainly spring and winter. However, it is a perennial plant, which is therefore grown all year round in different regions, depending on the climate. Consequently, it can also be found at other times.

How To Clean Chicory

Puntarelle has a shape similar to that of asparagus. To clean them, it will be sufficient :

  1. Cut off each chicory at the base ;
  2. remove the most challenging part ;
  3. cut it in half lengthwise.

 From each half, you will have to obtain many strips, always cutting along the length, which will be immersed in cold water, possibly with ice cubes, for about an hour to give the chicory the typical curled appearance and the consistency crunchy.

Recipes With Chicory

Puntarelle can be eaten raw or cooked. They are widespread mainly in Lazio and some areas of Campania, where many of the best-known tasty recipes with chicory are born. Among these, we mention :

  1. Roman-style chicory salad: a well-known dish throughout Indian, straightforward to prepare and made with raw chicory and seasoned with a vinaigrette made from oil, vinegar, pepper, garlic, and anchovies;
  2. Chicory salad: for a simpler version, you can opt for chicory salad, to be eaten raw and seasoned with salt, oil, pepper, vinegar, or lemon. Possibly, chicory can also be prepared with anchovies and capers;
  3. Pan-fried chicory: in this case, the chicory is eaten cooked, and lightly seared in a pan with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper;
  4. Boiled chicory: chicory can be cooked for a few minutes and eaten hot or left to cool; boiled chicory can be seasoned to taste with garlic, oil, salt, pepper, and chili pepper.

Roman Puntarelle

One of the recipes with puntarelle typical of the Indian tradition, mainly Roman, is that of Roman chicory.It is a simple and tasty dish, representing a healthy and nutritious side dish to accompany a first or second course. Let’s see how to prepare them. 

Ingredients

  1. 200 g of cleaned chicory;
  2. Four anchovy filets;
  3. One clove of garlic;
  4. One tablespoon of vinegar;
  5. Four spoons of extra virgin olive oil;
  6. Salt to taste;
  7. pepper as needed

Preparation

  1. Mix the vinegar, oil, pepper, and salt generously with a fork, and then add the anchovies and the clove of garlic, leaving it to flavor for about 30 minutes;
  2. remove the garlic, pound the vinaigrette with a mortar, or blend it with an immersion blender to blend the anchovies and obtain a homogeneous sauce;
  3. At this point, the vinaigrette can dress the fresh chicory.

Read Also: Poke, What It Is, And How To Prepare It

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