Tuesday, April 24, 2012

From the Sublime to the Radicchio

Although the recipes I had planned for this week called for a staggering *3* heads of radicchio, I knew I needed to start small. So, I got 1 head, cut it in half, and ate it over the course of 2 meals, in 2 very different ways, just to try and get my head about radicchio.

First Half of the Head: The Cooked

I made a very fancy dish. Grilled Marinated Tempeh Steak with Radicchio, Avocado, Orange Dressing, and Tahini. I was intrigued by this one, because, not only did it require that the tempeh be grilled, it actually calls for grilled radicchio. I am savvy enough to know that grilling salad greens is a current food trend, but the only reason I knew of the existence of grilled radicchio is that Sally orders it in "When Harry Met Sally", when she and Harry are on the bad double date with Jess and Marie. So, I guess grilled greens were also a food trend in 1989, and they are back again!

I took some liberties with this recipe. Mainly, I don't have a grill! Instead, I did the best I could do, and broiled the tempeh and the radicchio. The radicchio lost its bright magenta color, and turned nicely brown, which I was hoping would manage to tame its bitterness. In addition, since I severely cut down on the amount of radicchio I used, I presented the meal on a bed of green leaf lettuce and spinach, which I tossed in the nice orange dressing.
I cut up my radicchio into way smaller pieces than that! I wouldn't have handled those gigantic hunks of badness!
 Now, I must admit, this meal made me question my new motto of If It's Not An Important Part of the Recipe, It Wouldn't Be in the Recipe At All. Because, this dish was actually delicious..... the tahini tempeh, the greens with a lovely dressing of reduced orange juice, the avocado, all topped with a nice squeeze of lemon. It was actually perfect.... except for the radicchio part. That REALLY didn't add to the overall taste of the meal. In fact, it detracted from the loveliness, as far as I am concerned. But I will try and chalk that up to me and my unsophisticated palate.

Second Half of the Head: The Raw

I made a salad that I wouldn't have touched with a 10 foot pole just a couple of years ago.... a Radicchio, Radish and Fennel Salad. Literally, before about 2009, I would have only eaten the pine nuts and the cucumber out of it, but I would have been mad about even them, as the dressing was a maple syrup dijon dressing. But I have to say, this was a really good salad! For some reason, the raw radicchio treated me much better than the grilled did. I don't think it ruined an otherwise good salad, the way the cooked stuff kinda ruined the tempeh meal. I would make this again!
Strangely, the recipe didn't call for mixed greens, which are clearly shown in this photo. I went ahead and threw some greens in for fun!
In conclusion.... radicchio is not conquered yet! I need to spend a lot more time with my Bitter Buddy before I can truly embrace him!


  1. Making peace with radicchio? "Get over yourself!" Couldn't resist. I have to admit radicchio and I aren't bffs, exactly. A little goes a long way and I don't think I've ever thought "This would be even better with radicchio." That said, this all sounds yum, esp. the salad!

    1. I'm so glad you read this post. I don't know anyone else who would remember that Sally ordered the grilled radicchio. ;-) I endorse you making this salad one day!