Southern italian cooking

Southern italian cooking

by Francesco Mazzei

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INSALATA DI FINOCCHI, PUNTARELLE , ARANCE E OLIVE

FENNEL, PUNTARELLE, ORANGE AND OLIVE SALAD

imagesTHIS IS BOTH A LIGHT STARTER and a wonderful side dish – a simple assembly of contrasting textures and fresh fl avours. Fennel and orange add freshness and acidity, while there’s a salty kick from the anchovies and olives. Pile it on to freselle (see page 254) if you want to make it more substantial and give it extra crunch

SERVES 4
1/2 puntarelle head 1 fennel bulb, trimmed 1 large garlic clove, very fi nely chopped 10 tinned anchovies, very fi nely chopped 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp red wine vinegar 1 orange, peeled, white pith removed 180g pitted black olives sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the outer green leaves of the puntarelle to get to the pale green core. Detach each spear, halve and slice thinly lengthways. Put the pieces into iced water and leave them for as long as you can – ideally overnight, but for a few hours at least, until they curl up.
Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice the fennel very thinly, then add it to the iced water and set aside. Put the garlic and anchovies into a jug with the olive oil and vinegar and whisk vigorously to make a dressing. Segment the orange, slicing between the fine membrane to remove the fl esh. Drain the puntarelle curls and fennel and dry thoroughly, then transfer them to a serving bowl and toss with the dressing and some salt and pepper. Finish by scattering over the olives and orange segments.