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Puntarella is usually coupled with anchovies for a salty and bitter pairing.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Though puntarella is now available in some grocery stores (especially Italian ones), shredded dandelion leaves, radicchio or Belgian endive are good substitutes. You can shred and sauté the thick base of the puntarella in some olive oil for a side dish.

Servings: 4

Ready Time: 2 hours, including chilling time

Wine Pairings: These almost-fashionable greens bring to mind a few almost-fashionable Italian whites, such as greco di tufo, falanghina and insolia, all from the south. Verdicchio from the central-northern Marche region is another good option. They’re all crisp and herbal and happy to swim with the caper-adorned fish, too. Should you prefer more heft, try white Burgundy, especially if you have access to a cellared bottle with a characteristically nutty note that echoes the brown butter.Red? Yikes. The acidity and bitterness here will unhinge all but the crispest examples. Stay on the light side, as in Beaujolais from France or dolcetto from Italy.- Beppi Crosariol


1 head puntarella

1 tbsp chopped anchovies

1 tsp chopped garlic

¼ cup olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Remove stalks from puntarella and thinly slice. Place in ice water along with leaves and refrigerate for about 2 hours; they will curl slightly. Drain well and pat stalks dry.

Combine anchovies, garlic, olive oil and lemon. Toss with the puntarella. Taste for seasoning adding more lemon juice, salt and pepper if needed.