prickly lettuce

Tales from Naples - Scarola recipe

At a time when globalization was a concept as far from reality as it is for me going to the movies without my handmade cherries clafoutis, I used to get out of school and hop on a train to reach Naples whenever I filled like having pizza. Not just any kind of pizza. The really gorgeous, thin in the middle and puffy around the rim one. My favourite combination is pizza and scarola, which is basically a stuffed focaccia. Exquisite on its own as a side dish, the yummy effect of this prickly lettuce recipe is rendered by the aggregation of the capers saltiness with the sultanas tender sweetness. Last june I made it with Anne, author of the award winning French food blog Papilles&Pupilles, who, on this occasion, came to visit me on account of Bouygues Telecom. We spent a whole morning talking food trends and we cut, sliced and finally enjoyed an unforgettable lunch. Filled with vitamin A,  this crunchy chocory is excellent for strenghtening both our bones and immune system (especially useful as we are now approaching the autumn leaves). This veggie, timely option is going to send you to the moon. And back. Totally worth the journey. Serves 4 people:

  • 800 g. prickly lettuce / chicory
  • 30g. raisins
  • 30 gr. pine nuts
  • 5 Anchovies
  • 30 gr. Greek pitted olives
  • 30 gr. salted capers (about 15)
  • 3 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic

Sprinkle a pan with the extra virgin olive and boil slightly, then add the garlic oil. Let the two elements flavor for about three minutes; once goldened, get the garlic out of the pan.

At this point, add all the ingredients that make up the seasoning: raisins, pine nuts, anchovies, olives, capers. Let them stir briskly over medium heat for a few minutes before adding the prickly lettuce.

At first, you will have the impression that the whole of the pan explodes but do not worry: you can keep it under control by covering the pan. Let it do its job on its own for about 15 minutes over medium heat.

Best advice: you understand that your dish is ready when the vegetables water is completely absorbed.