So vegetables and salads, yeah um, definitely not my thing and in the old days, were avoided at all costs (well except for caesar salads because that was the only time I got to eat bacon, croutons, eggs and creamy dressing and still think I was being ‘healthy’). But lo and behold, the parentals were right when they said that taste buds will change because now in my *cough* old age *cough* my inner herbivore has finally broken through. Aah parents, they look crazy but damn they know what they’re talking about some of the time!
Recently I was sent a hamper of fresh produce from Perfection Fresh. I never thought I’d appreciate things like this but yep, I may have gotten a little giddy when I saw the likes of Dutch carrots, brussel sprouts and tomatoes. But there was one that got me a little stumped; Treviso radicchio. I’ve never cooked with it and to be honest, I’m not a fan of the bitterness.
I heard that grilling or roasting radicchio mellows out the bitter flavour and gives it an almost nutty fragrance. I then consulted with Martha and I was sold. Because the radicchio was roasted with a good coating of (fabulous) extra virgin olive oil, I skipped on making a proper dressing. In fact a touch of seasoning and a good drizzle of balsamic vinegar was all that it needed.
If you like radicchio, then this a perfect winter salad for you. If you’re after a strictly vegetarian version, grilled haloumi would be a brilliant replacement for the speck (or you can totally add it in on top of the speck and take this to a whole new level of omg-indulgence).
- 1 head of radicchio (I used a Treviso variety)
- 250g of speck
- 1 Tbl of chopped garlic (adjust to taste, I like things super garlicky)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 Tbl balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
- *Be sure to use a good quality balsamic vinegar; one that’s a little richer and sweeter. The cheap ones tend to be quite harsh and acidic.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut the radicchio into quarters lengthways, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, tossing it to coat well, then sprinkle sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste on both sides. Place on a lined baking tray then roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes (turning it once halfway through) until leaves are wilted and slightly charred. Slice each quarter across the width into inch-thick strips.
- Meanwhile, dice speck into 1.5cm batons then sauté in a pan until lightly crisp on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels, reserving the fat in the pan. Reduce the heat then throw in the garlic and gently cook until golden and sweet. Remove and drain on paper towels.
- Toss the radicchio, speck and garlic together then season to taste. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over and toss to coat.