Wilted Radicchio with Shallots

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Alice Waters is worshipped here in the Bay Area, and I’ll readily admit that I’ve guzzled her locally-brewed, organic, artisanal Kool-Aid myself. Whenever I get an unusual vegetable in my CSA box, I always refer to my copy of Chez Panisse Vegetables to figure out what to do with it. Although her book has no pictures and most of its recipes include no specific measurements, it’s one of my favorites because it pushes me to develop my own cooking instincts and to experiment in the kitchen.

I referred to her book again this evening when I needed a recipe for the beautiful head of Castelfranco radicchio that came in my Mariquita Farm Mystery Box.

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This vegetable is part of the chicory family, so I followed Waters’ simple recipe for wilted escarole with some small modifications. Here’s her succinct recipe, quoted verbatim from the book:

Wash and trim escarole. Cut the leaves into wide strips. Saute in olive oil, covered, until wilted and bright green, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add a splash of vinegar, and serve.

Really. That’s all it says.

Here’s what I gathered to make this recipe:

  • 1 head of Castelfranco radicchio (or escarole), roughly chopped into strips
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of Kerrygold unsalted butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (you can substitute with your favorite vinegar but I like the sweetness of balsamic to balance out the bitterness of the radicchio)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made it:

I melted the butter over medium heat and tossed in my sliced shallots. I sauteed the shallots until they were softened and lightly browned.

Then, I tossed in my chopped radicchio along with some salt and pepper to taste. Yes, I’m being vague — but learning to season properly is a skill everyone needs to perfect. Taste, taste, and taste some more while you’re cooking.

I didn’t need to cover my pan because the radicchio wilted pretty quickly.

After the greens were wilted, I splashed on the vinegar and adjusted the seasoning with additional salt and pepper.

Ta dah!

Please note that chicories (e.g. endives, escarole, and radicchio) are naturally a little bitter. Maybe that’s why I like ‘em, because their taste matches my personality!