Bitter Greens with Anchovies and Breadcrumbs

Bitter Greens with Anchovies and Breadcrumbs recipe
Photo: Lennart Weibull
Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
50 mins

This twist on a traditional Italian puntarelle salad gets an extra boost of savory umami flavor from capers swirled into the lemon-anchovy dressing. Creamy avocado and ribbons of shaved fennel and celery also make cool cameos.


  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 (1-inch-thick) slice rustic bread, crust removed, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 small clove garlic, minced

  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons fresh juice

  • 2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped

  • 2 cups shaved fennel (from 1 bulb)

  • 2 cups shaved celery (from 3 stalks)

  • 4 cups bitter greens, such as dandelion, escarole, or a combination, torn into bite-size pieces

  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and quartered


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium. Add bread and cook, stirring often, until golden and crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then transfer to a small bowl. Stir in cheese; season with salt and pepper. Wipe skillet clean.

  2. With the flat side of a heavy knife, mash garlic and anchovies to a fine paste. Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in skillet over medium; add anchovy mixture and cook until warm and fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl; whisk in lemon zest and juice, and capers. Season lightly with salt and pepper; let cool completely.

  3. Toss dressing with fennel and celery. Fold in greens and season with salt and pepper. Mound salad on 4 plates; top with breadcrumbs and avocado. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

Endive, chicory, and even baby kale are delicious alternatives to the escarole and dandelion in this salad. Using a mandolin when prepping will make quick work out of shaving the celery and fennel.

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