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Author Notes: This is my take on my favorite radicchio salad, from Tasty N Sons in Portland. The bitter radicchio is brilliantly tempered by a tangy, creamy dressing, nutty parmesan cheese, and salty olives. I found some applewood smoked green olives that are to-die-for, but any briny green olive will do (hold the pimento!) I hope my version is a reasonable approximation of the original!
Serves 4 to 8, depending on course
For the salad
- 3 1/2-inch thick slices sandwich bread
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 medium heads radicchio (3/4- 1 lb total)
- green olives
- 1 oz parmesan, finely grated
For the dressing
- 1 lemon
- 1 medium garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- To prep the salad: Preheat oven to 375º F. Tear sandwich bread into quarters. Place bread in food processor and pulse to coarse crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then stir well. Repeat with remaining tablespoon olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, then stir well. Transfer crumbs to a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until golden brown and crisp – about 8 to 10 minutes – stirring several times. The smaller crumbs will brown more than the larger ones, so take care, and pull them before they burn. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet. Turn off oven.
- Meanwhile remove any wilted outer leaves from the radicchio. Quarter the heads, and remove the stem. Halve each quarter lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 2 to 3 chunks so pieces are bite-sized. Transfer radicchio to the basket of a salad spinner. Place the basket into the bowl of the salad spinner and fill with very cold water. Set aside.
- Coarsely chop enough olives to measure a heaping 1/3rd cup (more or less to taste.) Set aside.
- To make the dressing: Wash lemon thoroughly, then zest. Place zest in bowl you used for seasoning the bread crumbs. Juice the lemon and add 2 tablespoons of the juice to the bowl with the zest. Mince the garlic. Sprinkle minced garlic with kosher salt, and use the flat surface of a chef's knife to scrape the garlic and salt back and forth to form a paste. Transfer the paste to the bowl with the lemon. Add the black pepper and sugar. Whisk mayonnaise into the mixture until smooth. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust with salt, sugar, pepper, or lemon juice as desired.
- To assemble the salad: Drain the radicchio and spin it dry. Transfer to a large bowl. Add most of the chopped olives, all of the parmesan, and all of the dressing. Toss well to combine and lightly coat radicchio with dressing. Add most of the bread crumbs, and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt or pepper if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with reserved bread crumbs and chopped olives. Serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Lettuce
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