Dandelion Puntarelle Salad

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This puntarelle salad uses local dandelion but still reminds me of Rome.

Traditionally from Rome, this dish is a spin on a classic puntarelle salad by using dandelion, which is similar but much easier to find in North America.

Dave did not love Rome. But maybe it’s because we got off on a bad start and our worst meal was the worst pizza of our life.

Although that’s our fault since it was a block away from our hotel overlooking the Spanish steps.

MUST READ: Where to Eat in Rome

But after that slimey mistake we had some great meals in home. And one of the most memorable dishes was puntarelle (pun-ta-rel-ay) salad.

An instagram friend insisted we go to Dar Filettaro, a tiny Roman restaurant close to Piazza Navona.

It’s famous for its cod and small seasonal menu. As we were there in January it was a puntarelle salad, and one of my favourite memories.  

Dar Filetto is the kind of restaurant that doesn’t really look like much from the outside, and actually also not on the inside either. But you go for the cod.

The cod was very good but discovering puntarelle salad was amazing.

Dar Filetto in Rome, Italy is the best place to try Roman Style cod and puntarelle salad.
Puntarelle salad at Dar Filetto in Rome. This chicory salad is easy to make with less then 5 ingredients.

Classic Puntarelle Salad

Puntarelle is a type of chicory, it is a bitter green and not always easy to work with. On its own it’s almost too bitter to eat.

To prepare puntarelle salad you need to remove the outer leaves, julienne the inner plant and then soak it in ice water for up to an hour until it curls.

But then the hard work is done as the classic recipe is served with a simple vinaigrette of anchovies, garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

This preparation tames the bitter green and brings out its flavour. It’s one of the few times you’ll get a dressed salad in Italy.

In January it’s everything you want in a hearty salad.

If you like puntarelle salad you'll love this twist with dandelion. It's perfect for spring with classic Italian flavours.

Last night I looked at Loka’s menu and saw that we were serving dandelion greens, Avonlea cheddar and crispy leeks.

Dave smiled when I read the menu item aloud because we both knew what that dish was – the Canadian version of the puntarelle salad.

It was over two years ago that we had our epic 5-week meatcation in Italy but I remember that dinner like it was yesterday.

I had to try this dish. So we dropped into Loka on our day off so we could share it again one more time.

Dandelion Puntarelle Salad

If you like puntarelle salad you'll love this twist with dandelion. It's perfect for spring with classic Italian flavours.

The puntarelle chicory isn’t commonly available in North America.

We simply don’t have much of a desire of bitter greens, it tastes like endive but also with a touch of fennel.

But dandelion is very close in flavour and in season right now.

So this isn’t a traditional puntarelle salad and I’m sure it will draw ire from Italians.

But I love this new interpretation of a great memory, dandelion is also bitter but more delicate for spring. The salty cheddar and crispy leeks balances out the bitter flavour.

How to Make Burnt Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 400F. Place bread crumbs on baking sheet and cook until dark brown but not black.

It should take an 30-40 minutes. Cool and store in an air tight container. Will last 2 weeks or in freezer for up to 3 months.

Traditionally from Rome, this dish is a spin on a classic puntarelle salad by using dandelion, which is similar but much easier to find in North America.

Dandelion Puntarelle Salad


 [wpurp-searchable-recipe]Dandelion Puntarelle Salad - - Dandelion Puntarelle Salad: dandelion greens (washed), arugula, sharp old cheddar, grated (we like Avonlea cheddar from Prince Edward Island), parmesan, grated, shallot, sliced, pickled herring, minced (you could substitute anchovies), extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, burnt onion syrup, burnt bread crumbs, Burnt Onion Syrup: onion, washed, sliced in half with skin left on, water, sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar), white sugar (can also substitute maple syrup, brown sugar or honey), canola oil, , Burnt Onion Syrup: Heat canola over medium-high heat in a small pot. Add onion halves. Cook 8-10 minutes. Looking for dark charred skin and flesh. Add sherry vinegar and cook 2 minutes. Add water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce by 3/4 and strain. ; Dandelion Puntarelle Salad: Put everything into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary but herring and cheddar are already quite salty so it may not be needed.; ; - - Salad - Italian - Italy - Italian - salad - vegetarian - - [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]

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If you’re going to Rome over the winter:

Dar Filettaro
Largo dei Librari, 88, 00186 Roma, Italy
Monday-Saturday 5:30pm-11pm

serves 4-6

Join the Conversation

  1. Gabrielle @ eyecandypopper says:

    This salad sounds incredible! I love dandelion in salads and too often forget to use it. I can almost taste it through the picture. Delicious!

  2. Colleen Milne says:

    I love everything in this salad. The bitter greens, which I adore, the pickled herring, cheese, breadcrumbs for texture, and that syrup, wow. I would eat that any day.

  3. Golden triangle tour ranthambore says:

    Wow! It look so delicious salad. all salad pictures looks amazing. I love this salad. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Rene Young says:

    I love this recipe, anything that calls for pickled herring! Such a fan.

    Thank you 🙂

  5. Food that brings memories 🙂 Always the best!

  6. Geri De Stefano says:

    Are you sure that breadcrumbs in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes is correct?
    I’m pretty sure that that would result in very black crumbs and a fair amount of smoke!

    Your recipe for this salad rocks though!! I just picked a huge bowl full of dandelions from my backyard.
    Can’t wait to see what kind of inspiration results!!

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