1 large bunch leaf chicory
1 large bunch broccolini
2–3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
1–2 dried hot chillies, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 Wash and trim the chicory and broccolini, cutting the long chicory stems into thirds and the broccolini in half. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Drop in the broccolini and cook for 2–3 minutes, then add the chicory and cook for another few minutes. Drain.
2 Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, anchovies and chilli and cook until they start to sizzle. Add the drained broccolini and chicory and warm through for about 5 minutes, tossing well.
3 Add salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve warm.
From Adriatico: Recipes and stories from Italy’s Adriatic Coast by Paola Bacchia
(Smith Street Books, September 2018 – AU$ 55, NZ$ 65)
At the Agriturismo Antico Feudo in Ortona, I asked Matilde (the owner) which were the most popular traditional dishes they served at her restaurant. ‘Our own chickens,’ was the answer. ‘Cooked alla brace (over an open fire), and grilled vegetables grown in our garden with pizza e foglie.’ The ‘pizza’ is a type of poor man’s bread, made with cornmeal or polenta, and the ‘foglie’ literally means ‘leaves’.
The leaves are not just any leaves, but leafy greens, often bitter and usually found growing wild. Blanch them, then braise them quickly with garlic, chilli, anchovies and a good pinch of salt, then top the lot with really good extra virgin olive oil and you have the simplest and tastiest of dishes.
There are no wild leafy greens growing around my Melbourne apartment, but my greengrocer usually has leaf chicory, young silverbeet, broccoli rabe or broccolini, and I use one or more of these. I serve this as a side to most main meals in winter and early spring.