Has anyone had luck in finding puntarelle (a kind of chicory, popular in Italy) here in the US? Is there a season for it?

Having just returned from Italy, I am dying to make a salad of puntarelle! There is nothing like it in my neck of the woods, but perhaps I need to go to an ethnic market of some sort. I was really intrigued with its flavor.

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francesca gilberti
francesca gilberti February 26, 2011

I really wish I had an answer to that question -- I adore puntarelle and, frankly, the season in Rome is barely a month anyway. I have never found it in the US, but tend to treat other wild greens or chicories in a similar manner -- with an emulsified anchovy vinaigrette.

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violist
violist February 26, 2011

I would go to gustiamo.com and ask them. This is a group of people that celebrate everything from Italy, and import some of the best products that are available, and though they are importers, they have a vast amount of knowledge of what is grown and produced in this country. My last thought is to go to Mario Batali's website. I support many of his foundation efforts, and I believe he has more knowledge about Italian food possibly then any chef in this country. He also loves to help people with this kind of question!

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pierino
pierino February 26, 2011

Dammit T I wish I could offer a yes on that. You can't find em here and even if you could they are really high maintenance. As Farro10 noted the season ended two months ago'

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thirdchild
thirdchild February 26, 2011

Thanks for the responses! And after reading violist's post, I did find out that Eataly in New York does sell puntarelle right now (...and just three days ago I ate it in Rome...sigh!). But that is too far from me to go on the spur of the moment. I am wondering if some Asian markets might have it.

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pierino
pierino February 26, 2011

Further clarification. "Puntarelle" is the Roman name for the central buds of "cicoria catalogna". Odds of finding it in an Asian market are zilch. Chicory is as close as you will get, and sometimes restaurants here will serve the leaves of chicory with the same dressing and call it puntarelle. I'm a hard core devotee of the real thing. With regard to Eataly, I love that place. But they don't need clerks they need docents.

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cookinginvictoria
cookinginvictoria February 27, 2011

When I lived in NYC, I could sometimes find puntarelle at the Union Square Greenmarket in the early summer. Are you a gardener at all? I am going to try my hand at growing some puntarelle this summer. Just last week I bought some puntarelle seeds from an Italian company (Franchi) whose seeds are now available in the U.S. and Canada. http://growitalian.com/Qstore/Qstore.cgi?CMD=011&PROD=000034&BACK=A0004A1

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Jan Weber
Jan Weber March 10, 2016

I can confirm that there are a few farm stands at the Union Sq. Greenmarket that sell Puntarelle/Roman Chicory - HOWEVER- much of the utility of puntarelle as a preparation comes from how the plant is harvested rather than just the variety grown. Look for ones with big thick stems and minimal fronds/leaves. If you can only find ones with leafy fronds, choose the one with the largest stalk base - you'll remove most of the leaves. Image is an example of an ideal puntarelle specimen.

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Jan Weber
Jan Weber March 10, 2016

Image of what you'll likely find in USA Farmers Markets if they offer it.

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thirdchild
thirdchild February 27, 2011

Thank you for that suggestion, civ. Yes, I am a gardener, and I will plan on having a little patch of puntarelle this summer. From what you say, it should be an early-greens-kind-of-vegetable. And pierino, I hope to get to Eataly sometime (I live in New Jersey). But I bet they don't prep the vegetables the same way that the Italian greengrocers do! I thought that was so nice and convenient - I mean, artichokes already prepared for making carciofi alla romana??????!!!!!!!

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Valhalla
Valhalla March 10, 2016

Thanks for the reminder--I need to grow some too! This company has it also:
http://www.seedsofitaly.com/CHICORY_PUNTARELLE_OF_BRINDISI/p1834925_8313141.aspx

pierino
pierino February 28, 2011

Eataly in Manhattan is an amazing place (the original is in Torino). There are about four aisles of pasta alone. One variety was as big as broomsticks. It's a surreal experience in its layout. You will see Manhattanite women in the service areas behaving like they are at the perfume counter at Saks. Checkout can be very confusing.

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mag dusseau
mag dusseau March 9, 2016

Alma Gourmet on line is where I get mine.

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