Radicchio, known for its gorgeous red leaves, was first cultivated in Italy in the 15th century. 

A member of the chicory family, it spices up any salad. (Check out our previously posted recipes for Romaine, Pecan and Pear Salad and Chicken, Strawberry & Fennel Salad.) 

Radicchio can be pricey in mainstream and organic supermarkets (about $5 for a small head), so it’s a great item to add to your farmers’ market shopping list. Click here to find a location near you. 

Today’s recipe comes from Chef Michael Chiarello, host of the Food Network’s Easy Entertaining With Michael Chiarello and author of several cookbooks, including Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking and Napa Stories: Profiles, Reflections and Recipes from the Napa Valley. The salad pairs wonderfully with his recipe for Home-Style Minestrone, which I posted in October 2008. 

As for wine, Chef Chiarello advises readers to serve the salad with a Cavit Riesling or Pinot Grigio.

Radicchio Salad

Makes 4 servings

Dressing

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (preferably gray salt)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad

1 small head radicchio
1 bunch watercress
1 unpeeled Granny Smith apple

  1. In 8-inch skillet, mix lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, beating occasionally with wire whisk, until honey is dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat; beat in olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Cut radicchio through the core into quarters; remove core. Next, cut radicchio crosswise into thin ribbons, and place in a large bowl.
  4. Remove thick stems from watercress; mix watercress with radicchio.
  5. Cut apple in half lengthwise; remove core. Next, cut apple crosswise into paper-thin slices. (A vegetable slicer is handy for this.)
  6. Add apple to radicchio and watercress. Toss with enough dressing to moisten salad. 

Recipe courtesy of Chef Michael Chiarello and Blackstone Winery