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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Slice potato, burn potato

Apricot-Stuffed Pork with Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

all's well...

all’s well…

This is an interesting recipe.  I’ll start with the pork.  The stuffing itself was easy to make.  I used red onion instead of shallot.  I know B is a huge shallot fan, but I’m not sure I’ve bought more than maybe three shallots in my life.  They don’t carry them very regularly at my grocery store (the one besides Aldi…).  Plus, for a cooked recipe like this, the red onion does a really good shallot impression.  The directions say to cut a slit in the pork loin almost all the way through.  Well, if you cut all the way through the loin on accident like I did, you can adjust and make a shorter, shallower cut right next to the mistake cut and use that newly cut piece to cover the gap.  It seemed worthwhile because I thought the sticky apricot jam would ooze out and burn.

It doesn't hold together very well

It doesn’t hold together very well

Speaking of burning…  The potatoes definitely burned.  You cook them for a while on the sheet with the brussels sprouts before you nestle the pork loin on there.  Trouble is, when I opened the oven to add the pork loin, I’d say those potatoes and sprouts were done.  Gulp.  I soldiered forth and cooked them some more with the pork loin, but I stirred them around a little to try and avoid burning.  As luck would have it, the pork loin needed more time to cook fully than what the recipe said.  By the time it was done, the brussels sprouts were really, really roasted and just on the edge of burning and about 60% of the potatoes were burned to the pan.  Here’s my question: why not chunks instead of thin slices?  What a mess.  If I made this again, I would either skip the potatoes or cut them into chunks and do the preroasting for 1/2 the amount of time before adding the pork loin to the pan.

We lost a lot of good potatoes in this battle

We lost a lot of good potatoes in this battle

On a more positive note, I ground up the pork and stuffing in the food processor and gave it to J with a little applesauce to moisten it and it was his favorite meal of the week!  I tried a bite and yeah, I would eat that!