Ugh! Radicchio… (And a really super awesome chicken recipe)

So.  How to start?  The November 2007 issue featured radicchio in the “Have You Tried?” column.  The extent of my radicchio experience was the little shreds of it found in salad green mix.  From that experience, I thought “Great!  I love radicchio!  I bet it’s delicious on its own!”.  I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.

Looks good, right?!  Well, partly right...

Looks good, right?! Well, partly right…

In addition to the awfulness that is radicchio, none of these recipes appear to be online anymore.  I can only assume this is because Martha realized they were inedible (except the lovely chicken!!) and had them banished from her domain.

So, if you have the issue, you can find the recipe for Chicken with Lemon-Mustard Sauce and Seared Radicchio on page 156.  If not, I’ll do my best for you here because really, this chicken is worth a try.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs all-purpose flour

1 1/2 lbs chicken cutlets (or cheat like me and slice a couple of breasts into 3 or 4 pieces length wise)

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs dijon mustard

2 Tbs capers (drain them and rinse them so all that briny-ness doesn’t get into your sauce)

2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs butter (keep it cold and cut into cubes)

2 heads of radicchio, quartered (feel free to skip this part)

Get a large skillet heating up on medium high heat and add 1 Tbs of that once it is heated.  Meanwhile, dredge your chicken in the flour seasoned with some salt and pepper.  Once the skillet it hot, toss those cutlets in! Don’t crowd them, do them in two batches.  They cook pretty quickly so just cook them until lightly browned on either side and cooked through.  Once cooked move them to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep them warm.

Once you are all done with the chicken, add 3/4 cup water to the skillet and boil it until it has reduced to about 1/2 a cup.  This sucks up all the chicken drippings and floury goodness to lightly thicken the sauce.  Once that has reduced, remove it from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice, mustard and capers.  Once that is all combined, whisk in the butter a little at a time until the sauce gets glossy and beautiful. You can add a little salt and pepper at this point if you think it needs it.  Move the yumminess into a bowl and wipe out the skillet.

Add that last Tbs of oil into the pan and toss the radicchio in with cut side down.  Don’t turn it until it is lightly charred and then repeat on the other cut sides.

Serve it all together with a bit of the sauce on the radicchio as well.

*adapted from pg. 156, November 2007, issue 47

Now, I think I’ve made it pretty clear how delicious this chicken is.  It’s something special.  It’s something to make for guests.  The radicchio is not.  It’s just not.  The bear and I were both pretty excited about trying it.  It looked pretty awesome.  We each took a bite.  It took every ounce of will power not to instantly spit it out.  It was so intensely bitter that my body was literally rejecting it as poison.  The bear’s reaction was the same.  We tried again.  Same result.  We tried again with a bit of chicken on the fork thinking that might cut the bitterness.  No, it just ruined the flavor of the chicken.  We gave up.  The leftovers went straight in the trash.  We gorged on the chicken to forget the wretchedness.

The bear vowed we would never eat radicchio again!  Then G came for a visit.  We were certain that the Radicchio Slaw would be better.  Perhaps it was the searing that made it so repulsive.  If you are interested in giving it a try, you can find the recipe on page 158.  We were still wary so we cut the recipe in half so in the off chance it was just as bad as the seared radicchio, we wouldn’t have to throw so much out.

It's a pretty purple...

It’s a pretty purple…

Here’s the recipe:

In a large bowl,  whisk together 3 tablespoons cider vinegar and 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar.  Once the sugar is dissolved whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add in the radicchio that has been halved, cored, and thinly sliced along with a couple of scallions thinly sliced on the diagonal.  And finally add in 1/2 celery seed and toss it all together.  Let that all marinade together for at least 10 minutes.

*adapted from pg 158, November 2007, issue 47

Then throw it all straight in the trash.  We tried to save it. We coated it in gravy.  It was edible that way, but not worth wasting the gravy on.  I won’t say it was quite as bad as the seared radicchio, but it wasn’t good.  It was still incredibly bitter, we even went a little heavy on the sugar trying to compensate.  No luck.

Radicchio, you are not my friend.  G, the brave soul tried the third and final recipe…

G, here.  I think B is giving radicchio slaw smothered in gravy (aka “crunchy gravy”) short shrift here.  It was great!  All the texture of cabbage with the taste of gravy!  Who wouldn’t love it?

Anyway, as B said, the final recipe fell to me, Radicchio, spinach, and apricot salad with goat cheese.  B and the bear had already been traumatized enough.  Wouldn’t you know it?  This recipe also isn’t available online.  Trying to hide it, are you?  Nice try.

Radicchio, spinach, and apricot salad with goat cheese

You can see the purple, right B?

You can see the purple, right B?

*adapted from Everyday Food issue #47 page 152 (November 2007)

  • 1/2 c. dried apricots, halved
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 head radicchio (~8 oz), halved, cored, and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bag (5 oz) baby spinach
  • 2 oz. soft, crumbled goat cheese
  1. Place the apricots in a small bowl, cover with boiling water.  Let stand 5 minutes, drain, and pat dry with paper towels.  Try not to eat them.  Try
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil; season with coarse salt and ground pepper.  You could also do this in a small bowl and toss the dressing with the greens when you’re ready.  That’s what I did.
  3. Add apricots, radicchio, and spinach to bowl with dressing; toss to combine.  Serve topped with goat cheese.

And?! And?!?!  The suspense is killing you, right?  It was really good.  How did my good friend B take this news?  Was she happy for me?  Well, first she accused me of eating mostly spinach in this salad.  And then…

B: How is it?

G: Are you ready?  It’s good

B: I hate you.

And for that, you get the robot face 😐

G: Robot face all you like.  There’s no getting around this.  Radicchio has been just barely redeemed.

We ultimately agreed that all of the other flavors worked together to practically mask the flavor of the radicchio.  So we wound up where we started: appreciating radicchio for the small supporting role it plays in salad mix.  And that’s where it belongs.

You’re welcome.

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2 thoughts on “Ugh! Radicchio… (And a really super awesome chicken recipe)

  1. Pingback: (nov draft) Vermonts-giving | Cooking The Stripes

  2. Pingback: Escarole Beats Radicchio Anyday! | Cooking The Stripes

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