Bresaola, Puntarelle, Caper, Parmesan, Dried Apricot and Cedro Lemon-Zest Salad
Welcome to all of you... to 2014... and let's hope that the New Year may bring the best of health, love, success and happiness all of you good people out there:-)
After a long absence, I returned home to Frankfurt just a couple of days ago and indeed to my beloved market hall for the first time in 5 weeks. It was nice to see my favorite vendors and to enjoy all of the familiar sights, sounds, smells and variety after being away so long. And it was nice to see lovely young, fresh and delicious Puntarelle on sale again! As you can see... I did not resist temptation!
Of course, the traditional Roman preparation for puntarelle is just wonderful as it is, in its simplicity and deliciousness... but with a bit more elaboration and a couple more ingredients, I turned this delicious anti-pasto into more of a small, light meal this evening... eating a little lighter after Christmas is probably a good thing for all of us I would imagine!
The puntarelle themselves were prepared in the classic manner- I washed and finely sliced them, then dressed them simply with a little anchovy paste, lemon juice and olive oil- that's right, because when when NOT in Rome... do as the Romans...
As a little extra though this evening, I served my puntarelle up on a few slices of Bresaola, which added a lovely contrast and depth to the flavor. A few capers added a little extra blast of richness and a slightly pungent note of their own and to counterpoint this, I decided to add some thinly sliced dried apricot, bringing a wonderful sweet component in to compliment the bitter puntarelle.
A little extra "zing!" came from some shredded zest- taken in this case from a lovely, huge Cedro lemon- but of course regular lemon peel will do just fine. I cut of a thin slice of zest, sliced that up as finely as possible, popped it into an espresso cup and covered it with boiling water for a minute or so. I then poured away the water and the bitterness and was left with a lovely, fresh lemon flavor...
The finishing touch was a scattering of thinly shaved Parmesan cheese and that, along with a grind of mixed peppercorns and a drizzle of olive oil was all that my little dish needed to make it perfect!
No salt was added at any point, as the anchovy paste, Bresaola, Parmesan and capers all bring more than enough seasoning with them. This was easy in the extreme as well as being delicious and elegant to boot. So let's start the year as we mean to continue it- with a blast of color, flavor and freshness and good food to share with all of our families and friends!