What is Radicchio?
Have you ever cooked with radicchio?
Until recently, I have only had it in salads. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, radicchio looks like a small head of red cabbage; you can usually find it in the produce section of your grocery store.
It's actually not a cabbage, but a chicory, and it has a just slightly bitter, crisp taste.
Why Grill Radicchio?
Raw, chopped radicchio is what you often find in those bagged salad mixes. But here's the cool thing, radicchio is outstanding grilled. Something about the grilling on high heat transforms the bitterness and turns it a little nutty. I didn't believe it until I tried it. So good!
How to Make Grilled Radicchio Salad
Quarter the radicchio heads, coat them with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Then, grill them until lightly charred all over.
Chop them into salad-sized pieces, toss them with dressing, and sprinkle on a little grated Parmesan or Pecorino, and you're there.
Do you have a favorite way of preparing radicchio? Please let us know about it in the comments.
How to Pick the Best Radicchio
When buying radicchio, look for ones with a vivid reddish purple color and firm, compact heads. If the leaves are darkened or wilted, that's a sign of their being stored too long. For this recipe, you'll need a whole head, not a pre-bagged mix.
There are two kinds of radicchio: ones that are round like a small cabbage, and ones that are cylindrical and look like purple endives (which they are).
What is the Difference Between Endive and Radicchio?
Belgian endive is a small, cylindrical plant whose pale yellow leaves feature slightly curly edges. A reddish purple variety of Belgian endive is radicchio, or sometimes called red endive.
Radicchio is the same species as Belgian endive, both being part of the chicory family. However, radicchio has red or variegated leaves, which makes it a favorite in salads to add color and flavor. It also tends to be more bitter than its pale yellow cousin.
Other vegetables in the chicory family include escarole and curly endive.
Variations on Grilled Radicchio
- If you don't want to bother heating up the grill, you can easily char the radicchio in a cast iron pan on your stovetop.
- There are so many different ways to personalize this salad! You can add soy sauce, use different mustards, or even drizzle some honey for added sweetness.
- You can toss it with citrus and croutons, like we have in this Grilled Radicchio Salad with Citrus recipe.
- Love grilling? Toss some romaine lettuce on the grill as well!
Try These Other Grilled Vegetable Recipes!
Grilled Radicchio Salad
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to coat the radicchio
- 2 heads radicchio
- Black pepper, to taste
- Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated
Make the dressing:
Put the garlic, mustard, balsamic vinegar, and salt into a food processor or blender and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing comes together.
Pre-heat the grill:
Prepare your grill with direct high heat.
Quarter the radicchio:
Cut each radicchio into quarters so that each quarter has a bit of the stem end holding it together.
Season the quartered radicchio:
Coat the radicchio quarters with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Grill the radicchio:
Grill the radicchio over high heat, uncovered. Keep an eye on them, as they blacken quickly. You want a little char, but not a cinder.
When they’re done, move to a cutting board.
Chop into bite-sized pieces:
Chop the radicchio into small pieces and and toss with the dressing and some black pepper.
Serve hot or at room temperature:
Garnished with your choice of grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese.