Friday, February 27, 2009

sauteed radicchio

This wasn't planned, but it turns out that this week is filled with my first time cooking a number of veggies that all begin with the letter 'r'. It all started with the rutabaga on Tuesday. Tonight, it's radicchio. (Coming soon: romanesco!)

Radicchio is often found in the bags of salad greens that are found at the grocery store. But I'd never seen one whole. The one that came in the CSA box might be the most beautiful radicchio there ever was. Or maybe they're all this photogenic?

Surely anything such a brilliant shade of purple must be packed with nutrients, right? A quick look through The Complete Guide to Nutritional Health informed me that radicchio contains vitamins B2 and B3, potassium and fiber. Apparently, eating radicchio helps the body maximize energy release from food, prevents cholesterol buildup and the formation of blood clots. The book also lists radicchio as having "bitter principles". A quick taste confirms that yes, it does have a bitter taste that is stronger than most other leafy vegetables. Let's see if it stays that way once cooked. Here's what I did:

Sauteed Radicchio
Serves 2

1 head radicchio
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 oil packed anchovy fillets, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 sprigs fresh oregano

Cut the radicchio in half, then cut each half into 4 wedges. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, garlic, salt pepper, anchovies, and 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Set aside.

Heat remaining oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add radicchio in a single later and cook for 3 minutes. Turn, add vinaigrette and oregano. Cook until tender and slightly browned (about 3 minutes). Serve at room temperature.

The verdict? Some of the bitterness prevails through cooking, but the salty anchovies and sweet oregano provided a nice balance to this dish. And it was really pretty!


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