In North America, a taste for bitterness often goes uncelebrated. But in her book Bitter, Jennifer McLagan finds the beauty in it.
This is a flexible recipe. Radicchio varies in size and weight, so grill what you have—and yes, you can use Chioggia or Verona radicchio, though I find it easier to grill Treviso, and I prefer its more intense bitterness. Any creamy cheese works as long as it’s mild; you want it to balance, not overwhelm the bitterness of the radicchio. My choice would be a Normandy Camembert, a Pierre Robert, or a Brillat-Savarin.
- Cut the radicchio heads into quarters and drizzle with olive oil, turning to lightly coat the pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a gas grill to medium, or set a heavy cast-iron pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the radicchio and cook, turning often, until it is soft, brown in color, and lightly charred, about 12 minutes. Cut the cheese into pieces.
- Transfer the radicchio to a serving dish. Top with pieces of the cheese and sprinkle with the balsamic vinegar. The heat of the radicchio will melt the cheese.
Reprinted with permission from Bitter copyright © 2014 by Jennifer McLagan. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.