All recipes start with an idea, an ingredient, a spark of inspiration. For this recipe it was radicchio.
I was’t sure it would work and was going to shoot straight for the tried and true romaine as the base, but instead spotted the beautiful small, leafy, red radicchio and decided it would be my ingredient du jour. My thinking was, I’d toss it in the oven along with red onion (because let’s face it, red onion makes everything better) and sliced fennel. To add some crunch and fresh texture, a few endive leaves and toasted walnuts. And for a little creaminess, soft boiled eggs. I was going to even toss in some roasted potatoes in the mix and top the whole thing with a tangy mustardy vinaigrette.
I was all set, ready to get on with the new recipe. So I opened the oven, reached in and pulled out my trusty oversized tray, which lives there. As I grabbed the tray, I suddenly recalled turning off the oven but never pulling out the almonds I’d roasted several minutes prior.
Everything happened quickly. I burned my hand, knocked the entire tray of almonds all over the oven, floor, etc. No problem - cleaned the mess up and was really ready to start.
Oven on for preheat, I was blissfully chopping away at vegetables, eager to see how everything would turn out. That was until I smelled burning. And I mean burning burning, not like I’m burning food. A quick peak in the oven made me realize the almonds I’d previously spilled made their way to the pilot light and now my oven was on fire. Panicked and not wanting to make a heinous mess, I resorted to water and baking soda to put out the flames.
Frustrated beyond belief, my kitchen a disaster, I decided the roasting was off until I could take apart the oven and remove the culprit. But I wasn’t giving up. After all that mess, it was on to plan B - the grill.
So radicchio, fennel and red onion were now getting the grilling treatment. Sure part of me wanted to give up and just repeat the whole thing the next day but I’m stubborn and wasn’t going to let a little fire get in the way of my radicchio salad dreams.
Grilled vs. roasted radicchio
Since the incident, I tried both. Honestly it comes down to personal preference. I really like the way food tastes on the open flame but roasting it also allows it to cook in its own juices so it’s kind of a win win no matter which way you go with the process.
Red onion and fennel also hold up surprisingly well on the grill, so you’re good there too if you decide to grill.
Potatoes or no potatoes?
That is entirely up to you. If you want it paleo skip the potatoes, if you’re whole 30 or vegetarian and want to make it a heartier meal, get those potatoes in there and this salad will become more like a filling dinner than simply a salad. I kept it low carb but it tastes spectacular with potatoes too! And sweet potatoes are a great alternative too!
The perfect egg
Okay the word “perfect” is awfully subjective but in my “egg” book, the sweet spot is between 6-7 minutes depending on the kind of texture I’m after. For this salad, I wanted a little more bite but still a little jammy-ness so 7 minutes exactly it was. The key is to shock the eggs in ice water as soon as they’ve finished cooking.
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 10-20 minutes
makes: 2 servings
1 head radicchio, sliced into 8 pieces
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
1 endive, leaves peeled
1/2 large red onion, cut into thick pieces
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
3/4 tsp salt divided
1/2 tsp pepper divided
1/4 tsp lemon
1/2 tsp honey
2 tsp ricewine vinegar
1 tsp quality dijon mustard
2 tbsp toasted walnuts
optional: roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes
grill if not using oven
small mixing bowl
large roasting sheel
small roasting sheet
If using potatoes, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel and chop potatoes. On parchment paper lined sheet, potatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and toss together. Roast potatoes for 25-30 minutes stirring once, and set aside.
Combine radicchio, red onion, and fennel with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and toss to combine. Either roast for 20 minutes (turning vegetables after 10 minutes) or grill on medium heat for 5-10 minutes per side until radicchio, fennel and red onion have softened.
Add walnuts to small tray and toast for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring pot with 4 cups of water to boil. Add eggs and boil with lid on for 7 minutes. Immediately remove pot from heat and run eggs under cold water for a minute. Peel and cut in half.
In small bowl, combine remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, rice wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and mix well.
In large bowl or plate, peel endive leaves and layer on the bottom. Once radicchio, onion and fennel have finished roasting, add them to bowl with potatoes (if using), pour dressing over and top with eggs and walnuts. Serve right away.