I do not like radicchio.
Maybe that’s not the most enticing way to start a post about a radicchio recipe, but I’m nothing if not honest here.
Radicchio, miniature heads of tender red leaf lettuce, have a delicate, feathery appearance. They seem ethereal, soft as if they could float away, yet eye-catching for their molted mulberry hue.
Bitterness is not a bad thing in itself; it’s essential for contrast and balance in a dish, to fully appreciate sweetness when it rings true. The bitterness in radicchio, however, is something else. It’s bitter like a freezing rain whipping in a cold wind. It’s bitter like Ebenezer Scrooge before his encounter with three spirits.
How can you tame the bitterness of radicchio?
All is not lost when radicchio darkens your vegetable crisper. The secret is really quite simple:
- Cut it into thin strips or finely shave it.
- Soak it in ice water for at least 30 minutes.
- Drain and thoroughly dry.
That’s it! Like magic, the once biting acridity has been de-fanged. Now the question remains…
What’s the best way to cook radicchio?
Actually, that’s a trick question. While it is suitable for stir-frying, sauteing, braising, and roasting, I happen to find the milder version quite pleasant raw.
Allow me to introduce: The Purple Potato Salad.
Unlike conventional takes on the concept, the potatoes are roasted with autumnal herbs and spices for a warm finish and crispy edges. It’s still all about contrasts here, with fresh radicchio providing a tender-crisp bite against the creamy flesh of purple sweet potatoes. More floral and fragrant than their orange brethren, they’re worth seeking out for a truly showstopping magenta masterpiece. Nutty, buttery roasted chestnuts round out any remaining sharp edges to the radicchio, coupled with the crunch of toasted pine nuts. Like any thoughtful salad, it’s not just a random pile of leftover ingredients, but a carefully assembled composition.
How can you make this recipe your own?
Think seasonally and you can’t go too far wrong. Other complimentary additions could include:
- Roasted or fried Brussels sprouts
- Roasted Cauliflower
- Dried cranberries
- Thinly sliced fuyu persimmons
- Sauteed leeks or caramelized onions
- Roasted or sauteed mushrooms
Still think radicchio is beyond redemption?
Take it from a reformed hater: It’s all about proper prep. Anything can be made delicious with the right care and attention. If this Radicchio and Roasted Purple Potato Salad doesn’t change your mind, I don’t know what will.