Most of us have a house salad. Give or take a couple ingredients, we usually fall back on the same formula, the same veggies and toppings and dressings. Other people’s house salads always seem more interesting than mine. That’s how I found radicchio. I’d had little leaves of it in spring mix, but once I tried a whole salad of it I was sold.
I’ve been adding more to my garden every year. But this year, thanks to the warm, wet winter, they grew so slowly. All these rows of radicchio have stayed the size of ping pong balls for months. I’ve been waiting patiently, but I think 8 months in the ground is long enough. I don’t care how small they are, it’s time to eat them.The outer green leaves can be used in salads, but they just don’t compare to the beautiful ruby and white heads hiding inside. Even when they’re small, I’m always surprised by how much you get out of them once you chop them up.
They’re so good on the grill! Not only does it take the edge off the bitterness, but it adds a wider range of textures. The outer leaves are charred and crispy while the core is tender. It’s so simple, especially if you’re already lighting the grill for dinner. Just simmer the beans with lots of olive oil and garlic, and that becomes the dressing. Quarter the radicchio, slicing through the core so each wedge stays intact. Grill it for just a few minutes. Spoon the beans over the top, add some shaved parmesan and a sprinkle of herbs. Done.Not exactly a house salad, but a favorite in my house.
- 2 heads radicchio, quartered
- a couple tablespoons grapeseed oil, to season the grill
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 cup cannellini beans (cooked or canned, drained and rinsed)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- a handful of chopped fresh herbs (I like basil and Italian parsley)
- shaved parmesan*
- Light the grill.
- In a saucepan over medium-low, simmer the garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Fold in the cannellini beans. Allow them to simmer 5 minutes. Gently stir in the lemon juice. Turn off the heat and put a lid on the pan.
- Put the grapeseed oil in a small dish. Fold a paper towel into a 2" square. Grab some tongs and head out to the grill with the radicchio.
- Use a grill brush or a ball of foil to scrape the grill grates clean. Using tongs, dip the paper towel into the grapeseed oil and wipe over the grill grates, coating them several times. Place the radicchio on the grill and put a lid on it for about a minute. Uncover, turn the radicchio, and replace the lid for another minute. Once the radicchio is charred on the edges, move it to a serving platter. If you prefer it very tender, cover it with foil for a few minutes.
- To serve, spoon the beans over the top, allowing them to fall in between the radicchio leaves. Sprinkle on the fresh herbs, and shave some parmesan over the top.
- *use a vegetable peeler to shave long curls from a wedge of parmesan.