Quickly Broiled Radicchio Wedges are a Surprise Ingredient!
I’ve been making a lot of winter salads lately. The apples and pears are so good now. But it’s the citrus I love most. No surprise there for my followers. And of course citrus and beets are a classic combination for a reason. The acid in oranges balances out the earthiness of beets perfectly.
But I wanted more substance in this salad because it was the only thing I was serving with a simple pork tenderloin. Well, that’s not exactly true. Bread was also served, but that’s just a given in my home. If I’ve got juices on my plate, crusty bread will always be there to sop it up.
The beets happened to be really nice at my supermarket, so I bought several bunches and roasted all of them, saving the rest for later in the week. Right next to the beets were beautiful heads of radicchio, so that got me to thinking. Why not broil some wedges of radicchio until they soften up some and get a little charred? The bitterness of radicchio is well suited to this treatment. It sweetens it up a little and the texture would be really nice in this salad.
Then when I ran into blood oranges, the salad really took shape. The floral sweetness of blood oranges would be perfect for the beets and radicchio. All those colors and flavors were going to be something special. I emphasized the orange flavor by zesting the blood oranges and sprinkling it on top of the salad. Be sure and use a sharp knife to remove the peel from the oranges. You don’t want any of the white pith to remain on the oranges. Just slice off the tops and bottoms, stand them on end and slice down from top to bottom in order to remove all the peel. You can then trim off any remaining pith you may have missed.
Pomegranate arils were a natural addition. The bright pops of tart/sweet flavor are fantastic in salads. This led me to choose pomegranate molasses for the dressing. I only added Dijon mustard, a little garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. The dressing needed nothing else.
But I chose to add one more element to the salad. Chunks of aged cheddar. I’ve mentioned this previously, but the difference between average cheddar cheese and really good aged cheddar is immense. Good cheddar is so complex in both taste and texture. English or Irish cheddars are my particular favorites. Those salty and rich bites of cheddar were scrumptious with the rest of the salad.
I’ve talked about my enjoyment and enthusiasm for salads many times, but I think it bears repeating that there is no food in which I get more pleasure. It delights me to take bite after bite and find something different in each forkful. They are as interesting to eat as they are beautiful to see. And I’m a firm believer in the old adage that we eat with our eyes, as well as our mouths. All of my senses are on alert when I serve a pretty salad with surprising ingredients.
Well, that’s it for this recipe. I loved it, as did my family. Plus, we had leftovers and it was just as good the next day. That makes for a winning recipe in my book.