Elevate your salad and side-dish game at once. When blasted in the oven and flecked with a bit of char, radicchio mellows and gains some sweetness while still retaining just the right amount of bitterness. Here, it’s paired with acidic (syrupy balsamic) and fatty (creamy cheese) ingredients to make a knife-and-fork salad with balanced flavours.
Round or slender
You can use either of the popular varieties of radicchio—round Chioggia or slender Treviso—in this recipe, but if using a large head of this colourful member of the chicory family, you can slice it into quarters for 4 servings. Radicchio can also be prepared on an outdoor grill.
When some people say they don’t like slightly bitter-tasting walnuts, it could be because they have only tried nuts that have turned rancid. The delicate omega fats in walnuts are prone to turning unpleasant tasting fairly quickly. So, it’s best to stash them in your fridge or freezer and purchase walnut halves when possible, since their smaller surface area delays the rancidity process.
1/3 cup (80 mL) walnut halves
2 small heads radicchio, halved and tough core sliced away (see tip)
1 tsp (5 mL) grapeseed oil or sunflower oil
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
1/3 cup (80 mL) balsamic vinegar
2 tsp (10 mL) honey
1/4 tsp (1 mL) crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup (80 mL) crumbled mild blue cheese, such as gorgonzola or Danish blue
1/4 cup (60 mL) parsley
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). On baking sheet, place walnut halves and roast for 12 minutes, shaking pan halfway through cooking time, until nuts are a couple of shades darker. Be careful not to burn nuts. Remove nuts from oven and raise heat to 400 F (200 C).
Brush radicchio halves with oil and season with salt and pepper. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone sheet and place radicchio cut-side down. Roast in preheated oven, turning once, until leaves look shrivelled and radicchio has darkened, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, place balsamic vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-high for 4 to 6 minutes, or until vinegar is reduced by about half (should be a pourable syrup consistency). Watch pot closely so vinegar does not become too thick.
Place radicchio wedges on each of 4 serving platters. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and sprinkle with blue cheese, parsley, and walnuts.