I have cooked and eaten my share of chicory's before and to be honest with you most of them are two bitter for my liking. But grilling and roasting chicory's is a great way to dilute that bitterness especially with radicchio. Here I found a breed I have never used before, the name is Puntarelle. The leaves look almost the same as dandelion and they are quite bitter. The base looks like a bunch of fat hollow fingers or tubes. A very dense head of "lettuce" even though the fingers or tubes of puntarelle are hollow. Talking with the farmer she said they prepare the puntarelle by roasting it sometimes in the oven. It has been unusually hot here in L.A the last week or two so I thought of grilling the puntarelle. I'm sure glad I did because the results were fantastic. I paired the dish with slices of bartlett pears, some fig balsamic, feta, and gremolata. A great way to start a meal or even as an entree. Easy recipe, straight forward and not a lot of ingredients.
1 large head of Puntarelle (cut each tube of puntarelle away from the core of the head)
3 tbsp of Extra Olive Oil
4 oz of Feta (I used Goat)
4 oz of roasted salted almonds
1 bartlette pear sliced thin
1 cup of toasted bread crumbs
1 lemon zested
3 tbsp of chopped chives and parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of fig balsamic
Preheat Grill to 450-500 degrees
Drizzle Puntarelle tubes, with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Take the puntarelle out to the grill and grill for 3 minutes on each side or until tender but still with a little crunch. In a separate bowl add toasted bread crumbs, lemon zest, chives, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Place 3-4 puntarelle tubes on a plate. Add a spoonful of the gremolata on top of each tube. Then add sliced pears, almonds, and feta to the plate. Drizzle with the fig balsamic and a touch of olive oil. Serve and enjoy!