Here’s another treat from our Easter meal (I know, I know, that was a while ago at this point!). I wanted a salad that was something a little special, but have no access to lovely things like arugula, mizuna, or pea shoots like so many spring salad recipes call for! After browsing a few cookbooks, I landed on an intriguing combination in Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions.
It seems that in the U.S., radicchio is pretty much relegated to a few representative slivers in bagged salad mixes. You don’t see it getting many starring roles! Joe didn’t know what it was, and neither did the check-out lady when I bought it at the grocery. It’s a great little vegetable though. Besides it’s nice red color which provides a nice change of pace from generally green salads, it’s also high in calcium, and a good source of vitamin C and carotenes.
Radicchio was cultivated in Italy, and is still widely used there, where it is often grilled or roasted. It’s a member of the chicory family, and so has a somewhat spicy, bitter flavor, which I’ve read is mellowed out by roasting. In this salad, the orange flavor provides a really delicious complement to the radicchio. I’d definitely love to try it cooked some different ways though!
I was intrigued to find out that the plant is a perennial, which is exciting because there aren’t that many perennial veggies I know about. Although I would be surprised if it could over-winter in Alaska, it’s definitely a vegetable I’d be interested in trying to grow.
This salad was a delicious, and beautiful, change of pace. It was very easy to prepare, and like I mentioned, the radicchio and orange flavors complement each other very nicely. The addition of the roasted red onion really completes it. If you haven’t really gotten to know radicchio yet, this is a good way to start!
Radicchio & Orange Salad
1 large head radicchio, finely shredded
1 orange, peeled and sectioned (with membranes removed if you’re an over-achiever…. it’s of course delicious either way! )
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
olive oil, for brushing
1 tsp grated orange rind (from an organic orange; pesticides collect in the peels, so anytime you plan to use the peel, go organic!)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
about 4 Tbsp olive oil
Place onions on an oiled baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dry and browned.
Combine all ingredients for dressing and toss with the radicchio. Divide between two plates. Top with orange wedges and grilled onion slices.