Oh, radicchio, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
My love affair with radicchio (pronounced “ra-dee-key-o”) wasn’t always sunshine and roses – but it wasn’t radicchio’s fault. I just didn’t know how to prepare it. But with a little research and taste-testing, I’ve discovered there are so many ways to use this versatile veg.
One of my favorite ways? This bomb Radicchio, Watercress and Fennel Salad
. It’s a tossed salad of sorts with salty feta cheese, crunchy walnut pieces and a tart balsamic-red wine vinaigrette. Ladies and gentlefolk, you will LOVE it. Yes, even with all that radicchio in there. If you and radicchio haven’t come to good terms yet, this salad is a game-changer.
First, make the vinaigrette. You can toss all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and whisk it together, but I’ve found the jar method to be the best way. I can just seal up the jar, give it a good shake, drizzle the amount I want on my salad and store the extras in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch. Or dinner. Or both. Because when you’ve got a vinaigrette and a salad that are this tasty, they’re hard to resist.
Gather your remaining ingredients, including fresh fennel (or anise, as some stores like to label it), watercress and of course, radicchio. Choose a small to medium sized head of radicchio that feels heavier than lettuce but lighter than cabbage. As for the fennel, use the bulb only for this recipe and save the fronds for a soup stock.
Prep your ingredients and toss them in a large bowl so they can mingle and be friends.
Add the feta, walnuts and dried cranberries, then drizzle with the vinaigrette. We’re on our way to magic saladtown!
Lightly toss everything together, then serve! It’s super easy and super delish.
What I love about this salad is how well the radicchio pairs with the vinaigrette. Serving the vegetable with sour flavors found in citrus, vinegar or even meats like salami help to tame its bitterness. Salty foods like capers or feta cheese also work wonders on the vegetable, as do fatty foods including butter and bacon. Serving radicchio with sweet fruits or jams or strong-flavored ingredients like blue cheese and mustard also helps to highlight its unique flavor.
If you just can’t get over that slightly bitter taste, though, you can cook up a small head of it chopped up in a skillet until sautéed or place a head of it, cut in half or into quarters, right on the grill, making it a perfect summer side.
There you have it, folks! Radicchio isn’t so ridiculous, after all… unless you mean ridiculously awesome! (Sorry, had to go there.)
What’s your favorite way to use radicchio?Stephanie (aka Girl Versus Dough) is eating this salad for breakfast, too. Fo’ realz. Check out Stephanie’s Tablespoon member profile and keep checking back for her own personal recipes on Tablespoon!