Salad of Roman Field Greens (Insalata Verde)

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Servings: 4

This green salad, a variation of misticanza, which takes advantage of the edible wild greens of the countryside around Rome, is meant to be a refreshing palate cleanser before dessert. Use the wildest salad greens you can find, though their cultivated cousins will do in a pinch. Raperonzoli (rampions), small white roots with leafy tops, which appear in Roman market stalls in the fall and winter, are popular additions. The dressing is mixed directly on the salad, never on the side, and should consist of the best extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar you can find.


  • 5 cups tender wild or cultivated salad greens, such as arugula, mâche, radicchio, escarole and watercress, in any combination 
  • 3 green onions, white portions only, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed


Pick over the greens carefully, discarding any discolored leaves. Trim away any tough stems.

Put the green onions in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add the vinegar and then the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Mix vigorously with a fork.

Lay the greens on top of the green onions and sprinkle with a little more salt. The salad can sit like this for an hour or so before serving.

Just before serving, toss the salad well, making sure to coat the leaves evenly with the olive oil. Add a little more olive oil if the leaves are not all lightly glistening, being careful not to add too much. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World Series, Rome, by Maureen B. Fant (Oxmoor House, 2005).

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