For this grilled radicchio salad, radicchio is quartered, brushed with olive oil, and grilled until crunchy-soft. It’s then tossed with blue cheese and drizzled with a quick vinaigrette. Equal parts sweet and smoky.
Quartering radicchio heads lengthwise and grilling them transforms its taste from bitter to gently sweet and smoky. Showering the hot-off-the-grill leaves with balsamic dressing and crumbled Gorgonzola add complexity, though not in a gild-the-lily sort of way.
Some foods are trickier to pair with a wine than others. This is one of those tricky ones, seeing as there’s a sweetly bitter component, a highly acidic vinegar (or vinaigrette, if you will) component, and a pungent blue cheese component. I suggest a pinot grigio, because its zingy acidity is a nice foil for the richness of the Gorgonzola in the salad.–Christine Hanna
Grilled Radicchio Salad
- 3 small heads radicchio* quartered lengthwise
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
- Rinse the radicchio quarters and pat them dry. Brush the radicchio quarters with oil and place the heads on the grill rack. Cover, and cook, turning as necessary, until grill-marked but still crunchy in the middle, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup olive oil, the vinegars, mustard, salt, and pepper. Divide the grilled quarters among plates and crumble the Gorgonzola over the top. Drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette and serve pronto.
*What is radicchio?Belonging to the leaf-chicory family (as opposed to the herb chicory), radicchio is a bitter and spicy, red veined lettuce. And it is a lettuce–even though its tightly compact head would lead you to believe that it’s part of the cabbage family. Other. lettuces in the chicory family include Belgian endive and curly endive. It’s used extensively in Italian cooking, where it’s often grilled with olive oil or sautéed and added to risottos. It’s also popular in the autumn, as the flavour mellows considerably after the cold weather sets in.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Yummers! Having tried many grilled radicchio versions, I was thrilled to find this is my new favourite. I just love the succulent yet frazzly caramelized radicchio with the pucker of the Dijon and the sweetness of the balsamic. The creamy, crumbly, slightly melty cheese makes it pretty near to perfect. Extremely well balanced. It also looks beautiful. Just thinking about it right now is nearly driving me crazy. Maybe some toasted walnut halves would go well, too…
This radicchio recipe is very quick and easy to prepare and will complement almost any grilled fare. The grilling and the vinaigrette temper the bitterness of the radicchio to create a very nice medley of flavours. This is also very amenable to variations. You could use a little honey or maple syrup instead of the balsamic, and a smoked cheese instead of the gorgonzola (although any rich blue cheese works).
However you prepare this, try removing the tough-ish core pieces from the radicchio before serving. It holds the leaves of the radicchio quarters together while grilling, but I’ve found it to be not so palatable.
Originally October 10, 2010