Come mid- August, the glorious abundance of summer produce abounds in sometimes overwhelming quantities, especially prized if they happen to be coming out of your own garden. Eating bushels of tomatoes or trying to be inventive with an endless crop of zucchini will surely test your patience as well as those you cook for. Better to seize the moment and make hay while the sun shines, cooking up what you can to eat and freeze, can, pickle, or dry the rest to enjoy during the fallow winter months ahead.
That said, grilling up fresh produce is a splendid way to enjoy all the fresh flavors of summer without a lot of fuss. One of my all time favorites for grilling is Radicchio. Always lovely tossed as it is in a salad, but grilling radicchio brings out the depths of flavor that the gorgeous color promises. Wonderful served with meats, poultry, or simply tossed into pasta with olive oil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Do give it a try! The slight bitterness of the grilled radicchio bathed with a hint of sweetness of the Balsamic is perfection.
Grilled Radicchio serves 2 to 3 (or expand recipe proportionally)
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
- 2 large heads fresh radicchio
- olive oil for brushing grill (or grill pan)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon honey
- freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- flaked sea salt and additional fresh ground black pepper to taste
Gently separate the leaves from the radicchio head, halving the largest leaves lengthwise, and set aside.
In a small bowl combine the extra virgin olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey, and fresh ground pepper to taste, whisk together until emulsified and set aside.
Heat the grill (or grill pan) until hot and lightly brush with olive oil. Preheat oven to 350F/180C
Place a single layer of radicchio leaves on the grill (or in the grill pan) and lightly press on the leaves using a spatula for I minute. Turn the leaves and grill another minute, or until just wilted without charring. Promptly transfer the leaves to a bowl. Continue grilling the radicchio leaves in batches and adding them to the bowl.
Drizzle the Balsamic mixture over the radicchio and gently toss the leaves until coated. Add the basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste and toss. Transfer to an oven proof dish and place in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes.
Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature with flaked sea salt (Maldon salt) and red chile oil (optional)