Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ravenous for Radicchio

This is seriously one of the best salads I've ever had - and that's saying a lot, since I'm such a fan of the rabbit food. But my friend Jeff made this salad for a backyard potluck we had a couple weeks back, and I haven't had my fill of it yet. Not only did I devour a huge portion that first night, I made him leave all the extra fixins so I had leftovers for days and days. And then I went and bought the ingredients and made even more. And as of this very moment, I'm faced with a serious radicchio shortage in my fridge, and may have to stop writing about this salad and get to the nearest Whole Foods before panic sets in. Seriously, this is an addiction folks.

Turns out, that there's a reason it's so damn good. The recipe comes from one of Napa Valley's most acclaimed restaurants; Jeff learned it from the restaurant's equally acclaimed chef when he was working there years ago. (I am going to decline to state the restaurant and chef, since I'm sure Jeff made off with a trade secret!) So just between you, me and the fencepost, make this at home and save the $14 you'd spend on it a la carte in the restaurant that shall not be named.

Even if you're not into radicchio, trust me on this one - it's outta sight. I'm just gonna wrap it up quickly with the recipe, since I've got an errand to run (here I come Whole Foods!).

Radicchio Salad
Contributed by Jeff Hunsaker
  • 1/2 - 1 head of radicchio per person
  • Croutons, heaps (unseasoned, homemade croutons are the best way to go here; just bake up some cubes of day-old bread until they're crunchy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic (use a microplane to grate it extremely thin)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Peel the leaves from the head of radicchio; soak in cold water (this will make them nice and crisp). When ready to serve, dry the leaves in a salad spinner. For the dressing, add the garlic, Dijon mustard, Balsamic vinegar and sherry wine vinegar to a bowl; whisk until combined. Continue whisking and slowly drizzle in the olive oil and corn oil; whisk continually until all of the oil is emulsified. To build the salad, place the radicchio leaves and croutons in a large bowl; sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and toss. Drizzle the dressing over the mixture until everything is well coated, then let sit for at least 10 minutes to let the croutons soak up the dressing. The longer this one sits, the better it gets!


  1. Radicchio! How come Whole Foods is the only place to find it? I always have to head there when I make a dish with sauteed radicchio and panfried tilapia, topped with a parsley sauce. It adds a nice bitter, earthy note. I may have to run to WF myself, you make such a case for this salad!

    I found you on TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren’t accepted there, I’d love to publish them. Visit my new site (below), it’s a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.


  2. Hey Casey - Your site is a riot!! I absolutely have some seconds to send over.

    And the whole radicchio unavailablity thing - I'm with you - what gives?! If more people tried this salad, there would be a lot more radicchio love in the world.

  3. This is phenomenal - I'm having a bowl of it right now!

  4. This recipe looks amazing! Thank you for sharing.

    I've included it in my Top 25 recipe posts on Twitter because its such a winner!!


    Thank you again for the beautiful post.

    Bridge x

  5. Very, very nice recipe :-) I could'nt resist to add some feta - sooo goood :-) Thank U for sharing :-).

    Greetings from Denmark


  6. Yeah! This salad is brilliant. I mixed in a little Lambs Lettuce to help with the colour.
    I've just made it for my wife who is passing up dinner with me for a late invitation to the theatre. She thought it was excellent.
    I'll be making it again...and again!

  7. Wonderful post. I admire it a lot