Thursday, April 8, 2010

Radicchio Rosso

Just think for a minute of all those things you wouldn't eat as a child or even a 20 year old.... my list includes:
  • coffee (which I didn't drink until I was backpacking in Europe at 25 and was pretty desperate for sustenance)
  • mushrooms (it's a texture thing)
  • olives (texture again)
  • ham (don't ask) 
  • celery (urrggh - still can't eat it.  I don't even like typing the word.  I am pretty certain also that I am not alone in my loathing for this pointless, stringy, takes up too much space in my fridge vegetable). 
and most critically, any bitter leaf at all - endive, rocket and radicchio.

Who would have thought that now, radicchio is one of my favourite things to eat.  

So when I saw this Taitu bowl at the wonderful shop Emporium Botanica I had to buy it.

And why did I have to buy it?  So I could put a bitter leaf salad in it.   And the kitschness of putting a radicchio salad in a radicchio bowl doesn't even upset me.  That is age for you.  I will eat it torn up with some goat's cheese and ripe figs and a honey and dijon mustard dressing.

There are two ways I love to cook this leaf.  

The first is a pasta sauce: the radicchio is shredded and cooked down slowly in butter and bacon until it becomes brown and almost creamy. Then add about 100 ml of thickened cream and cook until it reaches a saucy consistency (yet another brilliant Marcella Hazan recipe) . 

The second is much more simple: cut the radicchio into evenly sized wedges and cook slowly in olive oil and splash of balsamic vinegar until caramelised (this may take 20 minutes or more).  Toss through some pine nuts and sultanas plumped up in water and serve with pan fried chicken breast and some aioli (thanks Neil Perry).


Cath @ chunkychooky said...

I too, cannot like olives... or wine red or white... I didn't eat strawberries until I was pregnant - when I ate a punet a day...and I alos started eating anchovies when I was pregnant- not with the strawberries- and now cannot beleive how good anything Italian tastes with them in it!!!

Ann said...

Hi Jane, I am so with you on celery... cannot stand the smell... thank you for your lovely foody posts - reminds me of what I miss about Melbourne - all those great food conversations... I LOVED that.

Looking forward to more. Ann

brismod said...

Radicchio rocks.
And Jane, I have no sympathy. If you had parents like mine you would have gladly eaten the things on your list. Relished in it even. My list as a child: tripe in a thin tomato sauce, ox tongue with dijon, and escargots from our backyard!! Bleh. Give me a celery stick anyday.

Engracia said...

I hate celery too Jane, in fact I don't even buy it, can't stand the smell. Radicchio has never been a favourite, but the recipes above make me want to retry it, they just sound delicious.

Jg. for FatScribe said...

never tried this before, but will look at radicchio for something "new" to introduce to the boys (and myself) this summer! NEVER like asparagus (ever), but then after spending some time with my brother he showed me how he cooked it with olive oil and some sea salt and, wow, my kids and I have it weekly now.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Jane
Well I love the bowl.. and unbelievably I didn't drink coffee till I started working.. although that was at 15...
now about the 'c' word.. I love the stuff.. haha.. you are right many foods one doesn't like when they are younger can be favourites now... have a great day... xx Julie

Tina said...

Hi Jane. I love your bowl! Radicchio - well I can take it or leave it, but am willing to try your recipes! Thanks for sharing! The first one sounds very delicious:) ~ Tina x

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Dear Jane,
Well, I will eat almost everything but I have to say that radicchio isn't my favourite salad leaf. It's not the bitterness, as I love endive and frisee. I think that it's quite thick around the base of the stalk....BUT.... I really do like the sound of your recipes so, I'm going to try them. They sound delicious. Love the bowl, too. XXXX

Debra said...

Love radicchio now-but it took some time! I don't eat meat so I have learned to love all veggies.
Now... that new bowl... It is lovely. I would gladly eat my leafy greens from that every night.
Your list did put a smile on my face-thinking of all the things I wouldn't have tried many years ago and are now favorites.

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

Gorgeous bowl - i'd find it hard to walk past that one too.

Mise said...

My own great hate is ketchup, and I love that bowl. I'd wear it as a Jackie Kennedy style hat.

karen said...

The two recipes sound wonderful. I had no idea what sultanas were and looked it up...are they grapes?
I am'll eat bacon and not ham? Bacon is the new go to flavor it seems...I love it too...but I have been trying to avoid pork. I love recipes with bacon in them...thank you for sharing these.
Your bowl is quite the's a great looking bowl.
Hoping your day is filled with sunshine!

Paul C said...

You have convinced me to try radicchio. A childhood dislike of mine is cottage cheese....still avoid it.

JMW said...

Love that bowl! Yes, I recall certain foods I just couldn't stand and now I love them. I hope my children get over the picking eating at some point as well!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Jane - is there anything you are not fab at? Cook, decorator, mother, lawyer, to name a few. You always impress me. The recipes look so good & will need to try. I'm with you on celery & still can't choke down coffee although I worked for Starbucks for 4 years. Your bowl purchase is so pretty, & inspired this great post. Oh, must add onions to my list. I can, won't & refuse to get near them. Phobia!
xx lovely weekend to you & your family

Laura said...

Oooh, sounds lovely! Especially the recipe with the cream. I often toss radicchio in risotto...I suppose a continuation of the cream idea (sort of?). For years and years I would not let a tomato pass my lips, but then I finally, around the age of 20 or so, had a good one and can't get enough of the lovely things now!

Erica Cook said...

My mother just informed me last night that I too (like some of my boys) was a picky eater. I had no clue.
Love the bowl.... and your blog. will be following.
xo Erica

Devon said...

Uh, you totally left out alcohol. I'll forgive you for that one.

Just read your comment on Mise's post--I do also wonder where bloggers go and I always hope that there lives have gotten so busy and full that they have no time to blog anymore. They stay in my Google Reader and I always hope they'll pop up every once in awhile just to say 'hey' and 'things are good.' That's my hope, anyways.

Have a great weekend Jane!

The House That A-M Built said...

Oh that first recipe is truly wicked and sounds totally divine. Love the bowl. Stew and peas.. that's all I can't stomach... oh and offal. A-M xx

Pinecone Camp said...

I have to be honest....I adore celery. My husband loathes it and he's from Melbourne. Is it a Melbourne thing? Enjoy your bowl! That salad sounds just needs some celery ;)
have a good weekend!

Millie said...

Brussel Sprouts are my nemesis Jane, followed very closely by broccoli. Have to hold my breath when I eat it. Thanks for broadening my horizons re the radicchio, as MOTH is a vegie freak & eats them all, he'll love this.
Millie ^_^

count it all joy said...

I have been quite aloof with radicchio, thinking that it takes itself far too seriously and is perhaps even a little smug. However your mouth-watering recipes have convinced me to overlook its superiority complex and give it the treatment it deserves. Interestingly, I could be describing Neil Perry, but again, his recipe sounds amazing. Meredy xo.

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