Tuesday 28 March 2017

Puntarelle chicory salad in anchovy sauce with goat milk toma cheese

15 minutes to prepare Serves 4

Bitter is better.

Some people think I’m crazy when they learn I ran an half-marathon less than 5 months postpartum.

No news they do. Ha-ha.
However, I believe everyone can bounce back: I am not saying I recommend training for 21 km within months of giving birth to just everybody; it takes work, careful planning and the will to run whatever distance you set out to accomplish. But any goal is achievable, if you want to.

With each week that lead up to the race, I took it one run at a time. As I gradually increased my weekly mileage, every long run felt like I was completing the half-marathon itself. Pre-­pregnancy, running 10 kilometers was just a training run for me, but post­partum, I felt like Wonder Woman. 
I definitely had some ups and downs, too. There were a few times where I missed a run, or I had a few moments where I doubted myself. But as weeks passed by, my confidence grew. I felt strong and powerful. Once race day arrived, last Sunday, I felt ready, I reminded myself that I had given birth, so running half a marathon wouldn’t be so difficult. It was my reward for my hard work.
And what a reward it was; kilometers flew by, the course was beautiful and this time, more than ever before, I felt relaxed, enjoying the moment, my moment. When I finished, it turned out that I also did it in less than 2 hours. I think it’s because I hadn’t put too much pressure on myself from the start, and while my training was minimal but sufficient, it wasn’t just my body that was stronger:­­it was my will and endurance that was transformed. 

After the race - still dealing with my aficionados 3 kilos of post-partum extra weight -, I had this amazing puntarelle chicory salad with goat milk toma cheese.
Puntarelle is a wonderful Italian green that belongs to the chicory family. It tastes something like a sharp endive with a hint of fennel.  The preparation takes a bit of time and forethought as one needs to first trim all of the leaves, slice the shoots into thin spears, and then soak them in ice cold water. Their traditional dressing is from Rome and it is made with anchovies, wine vinegar, EVO oil, and salt. These ingredients are mashed together then tossed with the greens. 
To compensate for the burned calories, I adapted the recipe by adding some nice proteins from a tasty goat milk toma cheese. In the end, it doesn't matter you just ran a race or not: when prepared this way, these greens become a savory sensation and a refreshing crispness, a first prize itself!


Here's what you will need for the 4-serving recipe

300 g young puntarelle chicory salad
4 anchovy fillets
100 g goat milk toma cheese
EVO oil
white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

  1. Cut the puntarelle lengthwise into thin strips and put them into a bowl of cold water. Let sit for 1 hour so that they nicely curl up
  2. Meanwhile, cut toma cheese into cubes
  3. Finely chop and smash anchovies to make a paste. Whisk in 6 tablespoons of EVO oil and 3 tablespoons of vinegar and stir until you obtain a smooth dressing. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Drain puntarelle chicory and pat dry. Finally, toss with dressing and add the goat cheese. Stir to mix and serve!

Nutrition Facts are listed for this recipe in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

Any idiot can run.
But it takes a special kind of idiot to run half a marathon.

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