pan-grilled radicchio salad with walnuts, artichoke and parmesan
Have you ever seen Chopped? It’s not the most prestigious of culinary competitions, to be sure. Although recently it would seem the network/producers/who-knows-who-make-these-decisions are stepping it up. Any-who, I remember one time while we were living in Ontario, Canada, an episode was on and I could not help but indulge in what can only be described as a guilty pleasure. I laughed off the whole ceremony to my husband while secretly anticipating the unveiling of the mystery box ingredients. One of the ingredients revealed was radicchio. The screen rapidly showed an interview with one of the chefs stating that he had no idea what radicchio is. My immediate reaction was to scoff at this less-than qualified contestant. “He doesn’t know what?” innocently asked my husband. “Um,…you know…radicchi…o?” Yup, it is easy to lean back in a cozy chair in the privacy of your home and imagine you know everything there is to know. But there is just oh so much I do not know. One of those things I had yet to make acquaintance of? Radicchio.
So, strolling down the aisle of my local supermarket here in Ecuador, I stumbled across these little leaf vegetables and couldn’t help but bring them home. Perhaps it was my recent mastery over artichokes that emboldened me. Whatever it was, I am happy I did. They came out to under 50 cents, so, I didn’t have much to lose.
For my first go at them, I wanted a flavorful, rustic salad. And I have to say, I was very happy with the result! On it’s own the radicchio can be very bitter, but combined with the sweetness and acid from the vinaigrette, the saltiness of the parmesan, the brininess of the artichoke, and the nuttiness of the, well, nuts…it produces a symphony of flavors in your mouth that will quickly send you back to the store for more radicchi…what?
1 head of radicchio, quartered
marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 medium red onion
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp packed brown sugar
pinch of salt
cracked black pepper
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
shaved parmesan, to garnish
Heat a cast-iron grill pan over med-high heat. Rub your artichoke pieces over the radicchio quarters to douse in oil. Grill until nicely charred. Set aside.
Put your 1/2 red onion straight on the grill and lightly char. Meanwhile, toast your walnuts in a dab of salted butter. Once toasted remove from heat. Remove red onion and slice thinly.
To make your dressing, combine balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt and cracked black pepper. Slowly whisk in your olive oil.
To assemble, shred your radicchio, combine with onion and sliced artichoke hearts and add your vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Garnish with shaved parmesan and toasted walnut.
It’s so good it’s radicchiolous! Oh, wow… that’s embarrassing.