Radicchio drizzled with olive oil and grilled has lots of flavor and takes very little work. Grilling tames radicchio’s natural bitterness, and changes it into an ingredient that enhances everything with which it is paired.
The outer leaves of grilled radicchio are charred, soft, and slightly smoky; the inner leaves warm yet crunchy. Mixed with garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and sometimes a little good quality balsamic vinegar, grilled radicchio makes a wonderful topping foregg-yolk rich, Piemontese tajarin (or any other pasta).
The form of radicchio most commonly found in US supermarkets looks like a small red cabbage. Occasionally, the market has Treviso Radicchio, which is elongated and, when the outer leaves are stripped away, looks like a large red Belgian endive. For most purposes, the two radicchios can be used interchangeably.
Friday night we had no snow near the back shed; this is Sunday morning (April 6, 2008).
We planted radicchio in our Alaskan garden last summer and harvested it on our return from Greece in October. Today we ignored the 12” of snow that fell yesterday and started this year’s radicchio seeds in the garage.
Grilled Radicchio (Ψητό Ραδίκιο)
If you don’t have the time, weather, or inclination to start a fire, it’s easy to grill radicchio on a cast iron grill pan.
2 heads radicchio, round or elongated (Treviso)
Rinse off the radicchio and discard any damaged portions. Cut round radicchio in quarters, and elongated radicchio in lengthwise halves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
Preheat a cast iron grill pan until it is very hot (if you're grilling over fire, you need moderately hot coals), and grill the radicchio on all sides until the outer leaves are nicely browned. Remove from the grill.
Serve immediately drizzled with a little best quality balsamic vinegar. For use in another recipe, cut out any tough center core, and roughly slice or chop into pieces.
Grilled Radicchio and Arugula Salad with Parmesan Shavings (Σαλάτα με Ψητό Ραδίκιο, Ρόκα, και Παρμεζάνα)
Save leftover salad and wrap it, with a few parmesan shavings, in a warm flour tortilla for one of the most delicious vegetarian sandwiches you’ll ever eat. To make parmesan shavings, you need to start with a chunk of fresh parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano.
2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cups roughly chopped grilled radicchio
4 cups loosely packed torn pieces of arugula
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion or shallot
Whisk together the sherry vinegar, mustard, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil. Taste the dressing and add salt or pepper as needed. Mix all the remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Toss with the appropriate amount of dressing just before serving (there may be dressing left over).
Using a vegetable peeler, or very sharp knife, shave off very thin pieces of parmesan and arrange over each serving of salad.
Lentil Salad with Radicchio, Celery, and Capers (Ilva makes an easy salad with marinated lentils and fresh radicchio and celery.)
Radicchio Stuffed with Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette (Cris gives directions for a beautifully composed fresh radicchio salad.)
Roasted Radicchio di Treviso (Susan tells how to simply roast radicchio with grated cheese.)
Bruschetta with Burrata and Radicchio Marmalade (Luisa tests Russ Parsons’ recipe for Radicchio Marmalade and finds it “delicious beyond words.”)
Radicchio Soup – Minestra di Radicchio (Susan makes radicchio soup, flavored with vegetables, pancetta, and ham.)
To find more radicchio recipes, Food Blog Search is a great tool.
The first picture, of the Treviso Radicchio and Knife, is my entry for Click, a food photography event hosted and created by Jai and Bee from Jugalbandi. This month’s theme is Au Naturel: food photographed in its natural state.