Radicchio is a red leaf lettuce and is immensely popular with Italians, chargrilled and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Sometimes called Italian chicory, it can be hard to find in your local grocer or supermarket, and because of its bitterness, people may find it challenging on its own with just a simple dressing.
It is the bitterness, however, that makes this salad what it is – a perfect balance of flavours – sweet (from honey, currants), tangy (from aople, vinegars), salty (from salt), bitter (from radicchio) and unami/savoury (from parmesan, nuts).
Dry roast the nuts before you start and have everything ready to go so that you can whip up the salad just before you need to serve it. To dry roast, add the walnuts in a dry fry pan and roast for a couple of minutes, remove and then pop in the pine nuts until light brown – being careful not to burn.
Oh – and if pomegranates are in season, you won’t go wrong if you scatter over some of its juicy red seeds for added zing.
½ head of radicchio, cut into 1-1.5 cm ribbons
1 large handful of baby rocket
1 large handful of mixed lettuce (mesclun)
¼ cup walnuts, dry roasted roughly chopped
¼ cup pinenuts, dry roasted
1 small green apple, cut into matchsticks
1 tblspn roughly chopped dill
Parmesan, shaved, to serve
Balsamic vinegar, to serve
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tblpsn red wine vinegar
a generous pinch of sea salt and a drizzle of honey, about half tsp
1. Mix the lettuce, apples, currants and nuts with the dressing and stir through – taste for seasoning.
2. Drizzle over some balsamic vinegar (or balsamic glaze).
3. Using potato peeler, shave some parmesan generously over the top of the salad and serve immediately.