Have you noticed that a lot of the cheaper bags of salad from the supermarket are now brimming with radicchio? It’s the thick, red-purple leaf that looks good… and tastes horrible.
It didn’t used to be this way: back in the day radicchio used to be relatively expensive and hard to come by, and the salad bags certainly weren’t chock-a-block with it as they seem to be now. The problem with radicchio is that it looks great on the plate, but is bitter to taste. I don’t know about you, but we often end up with old, opened salad bags in the bottom of the fridge that look like this:
Now I hate food waste. So I’d like to share a little secret with you: toss that radicchio in a frying pan for a couple of minutes, and it will taste delicious! For this reason, I am quite happy to stockpile the radicchio leaves in the bottom of the fridge until we have enough for a tasty side dish. The other great thing about radicchio is that it keeps in the bottom of the fridge for ages.
My radicchio recipe is as follows:
Toasted Radicchio Recipe
A few walnuts
Salt and pepper
Frying pan or grill pan
1. Make the salad dressing: a glug of olive oil, a glug of balsamic vinegar, seasoning and a few drops of honey.
2. Crack and chop the walnuts. Add the walnuts to a hot pan and toast for a couple of minutes, or until the nuts begin to brown. (Incidentally, I’m using walnuts here because we still have a nut stockpile from Christmas. In my pre-thrifty days I used pine nuts instead, which taste delicious but jeez – they are expensive! If you don’t have any old Christmas nuts to hand, try pumpkin seeds, which are a quarter of the price of pine nuts.)
3. Keeping the walnuts and the pan on the heat, add the radicchio leaves and stir for a couple of minutes. You will notice that as the radicchio toasts, the dark purple leaves turn lilac.
4. Mix with the salad dressing and serve.
That’s it! It’s very quick and easy. The nuts are for texture rather than taste as cooked, radicchio has a lovely nutty taste anyway. I must be honest: served this way, radicchio doesn’t look half as pretty as it does raw in a salad bag. It tastes twice as nice though…
Last time I used up the dregs of the salad bag in this way, I served the toasted radicchio as a side with hot buttered toast and smoked mackerel: