Not going to lie, very much missing Via Carota right now. I love their grilled raddichio, amongst basically everything else of the menu. Theirs is definitely much oilier than this, but Via Carota can get away with that. Typing this I’m thinking I should find a way to re-create the griddled Scamorza so stay tuned. I digress. So my local farmers market was unpacking these beautiful heads of radicchio and I figured I’d give it a whirl on the BBQ. You have to make sure your radicchio is very oiled before going on the grill so it really chars and softens, which will *somewhat* lessen the natural bitterness that so characterizes these purple leaves.
SHOPPING LIST: 1 head radicchio, blue cheese, pecans, confectioners sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, balsamic vinegar, balsamic glaze
The first step is candying the pecans. I used this exact recipe for the World’s Best Charoset but I’ll re-paste it for you here in a smaller amount: Take 1 cup of pecans and lay them on a baking sheet and throw them in a 350 degree oven for 4 minutes. Set up a strainer in your sink and then, in a mixing bowl, combine 2 tB. of confectioners sugar with 1/2 tsp. of salt and 5 dashes of cayenne pepper. When the pecans emerge from the oven, put them in the strainer and run water over the nuts so they are equally wet. Then, toss the wet nuts in the bowl of spiced confectioners sugar, replace the seasoned nuts on your baking sheet and bake them another 5 minutes in the oven until they are crunchy and candied. Allow them to cool, chop and reserve.
Slice your radicchio into 4 equal quarters. Brush the entirety of each radicchio quarter with olive oil, getting between the leaves and then season thoroughly with salt and pepper. Each radicchio quarter essentially has 3 sides, so on a hot grill (or in a cast iron skillet), you want to char each side of the radicchio until it’s a fork tender. At this point you could choose to chop your charred radicchio or present each wedge individually like I did below.
To finish, cover your grilled radicchio with blue cheese crumbles, your candied walnuts (I like to break mine up by hand to give them a more organic look) and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. I use the Alessi Balsamic Reduction when I don’t want to reduce the balsamic myself. Otherwise, start with 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and reduce by half. I like to serve this with extra balsamic or balsamic reduction on the side because I like mine extra saucy. As mentioned, you could make this entire dish as a CHOPPED salad if that’s your jam, I just think it’s way prettier this way.