Here's a great way to cook with this slightly bitter vegetable. It can be made into a warm salad with other fresh salad leaves, served alongside fish and meat, or chopped up and used in risottos or pasta dishes.
- 2 heads radicchio (outer leaves trimmed), cut into quarters so that the leaves remain close together
- 1 medium clove garlic
- Leaves from 1 small bunch of thyme
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slices bacon or pancetta (cured italian bacon)
- 8 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Have ready an ovenproof baking dish large enough to hold the quartered radicchio in a single layer, with a snug fit.
Use a mortar and pestle to mash the garlic and thyme to a paste, then add the oil, stirring to incorporate. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Drizzle the mixture over the quartered radicchio, then wrap a slice of bacon around each quarter, leaving the core partially exposed to the heat.
Arrange the quarters in a single layer in the baking dish. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, then check for doneness; if the bacon is crisp, roast for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven. If the leaves have not softened much and the bacon is not yet crisp, increase the heat to 475 degrees and roast for the last 5 minutes. Serve hot.
Adapted from "Jamie Oliver's Kitchen" (Hyperion, 2003).
Tested by Jeanne McManus.
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