When grilled lettuce salads first broke out, it was not well received. I remember watching a reality cooking competition show and the one of the chefs decided to grill the romaine in his salad. The judges were not pleased. Fast forward a couple of years and now grilled salads are being featured at more than one restaurant around the world. I’m still hesitant to grill romaine lettuce (don’t ask me why it’s just a feeling I get when it comes to grilled romaine) but I decided to give the grilled salad idea a chance with radicchio. Grilled radicchio salad with fresh grape tomatoes, corn, spiced pecans, goat cheese, and reduced balsamic vinaigrette sounds like a combination I can get on board with.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
I never was a big fan of fresh radicchio in salads. The bitter purple leaves are usually too strong compared with the other ingredients and outshine the others. Little did I know that radicchio is meant to be cooked! The Italians almost rarely include the leaves in a salad and instead either consume them alone with simple olive-oil based dressings or more often, grill or braise them – life-changing information. Now I can appreciate radicchio for all its glory.
You can play with the ingredients for the salad, substituting the pecans for walnuts or almonds, goat cheese for feta, tomatoes for grapes, adding asparagus – the options are endless. The corn can be grilled instead of boiled; if boiling the corn, make sure not to salt the water! Salting the water can make the kernels become tough. Either leave the water pure or add a little sugar if desired.
The bitterness of the radicchio intensifies after it is grilled; pair it with rich flavors and the salad becomes a satisfying meal. Sure there’s no meat, but the creamy goat cheese, spiced pecans, sweet corn, and fresh tomatoes all add a certain heartiness to the salad – not to forget the reduced balsamic vinegar, which adds a punch. This grilled radicchio salad is incredibly flavorful and perfect for those summer BBQs. Top with roasted chicken, steak or grilled shrimp for a complete meal.
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.