Depending on where you live in Australia red radicchio has only been popular in Australian households in the last ten years. Even if you have experienced radicchio in a restaurant, you have probably eaten it raw and most likely in a salad, but you can also cook radicchio. Just like any other leafy vegetable it can be grilled, braised, baked, or sautéed. I particularly like to eat grilled radicchio on polenta with a little tomato salsa, it is great sautéed in a risotto, or a pasta dish.
In Australia it is relatively easy to buy round or the elongated red radicchio.
One of my favourite ways is to enjoy it with pasta .
Sauté some Italian pork and fennel sausages (out of their skins) in a little extra virgin olive oil, then add some radicchio cut into slices. Sauté it while moving it about until the sausage meat is cooked. Add a dash of wine and evaporate it. Use red or white wine as the colour from the cooked radicchio can be quite dark.
I know a few people who do not like radicchio because it is bitter and when it is cooked the bitter taste intensifies. The bitterness is perfect as a foil for fatty dishes.
Roasted radicchio and pan fried radicchio is very easy to prepare.
I prefer to cook my radicchio on the stove because I feel more in control.
Cut a large radicchio into quarters.
Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a frypan that has reasonably substantial sides, add the radicchio to the hot oil, add salt, a little rosemary and thyme and watch it wilt. Turn it over once and towards the end add a little balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of citrus marmalade. The marmalade is home made so it is not too sweet.
It will be cooked in about 10 minutes.
It was the accompaniment to pan fried duck breast so you can see why these flavours go well together.
It may not look appealing (maybe as cooked red cabbage) but it tastes good.
Although my radicchio was cooked plainly, it is easily seen that adding different ingredients, will modify the taste. Try: nuts, a few slices of sautéed onions , bay leaves, caraway or fennel seeds, crisp fried pancetta, a little blue cheese at the end. It is a versatile dish.
The next day, the leftover radicchio made a nice topping for some toasted bread.
There was a cacciatore in the fridge and this, and the combination the radicchio worked well. Any pork or beef salumi, smoked fish or meat and a strong tasting cheese is perfect.
Once again, it does not look like much, but gosh, it was good.