Looking for a fancy appetizer or first course to cook up this spring? Look no further. Radicchio (pronounced: rah-DEEK-ee-o) makes for an easy-to-prepare, but looks-elegant-on-your-plate option. A member of the chicory family, radicchio has crisp leaves and a refreshing but slightly bitter flavor. Roasting the radicchio and topping it off with a drizzle of your favorite balsamic vinegar takes the edge off its bitterness and transforms it into a delightful, warm, wedge salad or first course.
The health benefits of including members of the chicory family in our diet are simply awesome. Radicchio is high in fiber, zinc and magnesium and also contains inulin, a compound that helps regulate our blood sugar. The bitter taste in the chicory family comes from a substance known as intybin, a metabolic stimulant that helps with bile production and hence keep our digestive system healthy and forward moving.
1 head radicchio, quartered
2 Tbsp onion, minced (or sub in shallot or leeks)
2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c Balsamic Vinegar
Microgreens for garnish, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Quarter the head of radicchio and remove most of the tough inner core.
2. Combine the onion, thyme, garlic, olive oil and lime juice. Whisk thoroughly then add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Toss the quartered radicchio in the dressing to coat, place on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven about 10-15 minutes, turning once halfway through roasting.
4. Place radicchio wedges on a plate, drizzle generously with balsamic vinegar and garnish with microgreens. Then sit back, and enjoy the oohs and ahhs as you wow your guests.
Soundtrack: Amor Prohibido by Selena