For Katja. I get requests to post recipes all of the time. Well, part of my life moving forward is to try to answer these requests. Incredibly good cosmic ju ju. Plus, my therapist loves my embrace of community. He thinks I light up when I speak of the time I spend with my friends, family and mostly my son. I love to cook, but more importantly, I love the experience that cooking facilitates. It creates a forum for indulgence and connectivity. It's what makes life more enjoyable for me...
So, here's a Radicchio Salad I often call upon. I cannot take credit other than recognizing genius and reinterpreting it. I originally learned this in a class with Chef Hiro Sone of Tera in Napa. It's fast, simple and banging-good.
Take your radicchio (use the most light and whispy varieties - darker, denser types, like treviso, don't work as well) and peel off all of the leaves, discarding the thicker white sections. Soak the leaves in ice water for anywhere from 20 minute to a couple of hours. This will help remove some of the bitterness. It works great!
In a wooden salad bowl, put some finely chopped shallots. Add a small dollop of mustard (dijon preferred), a squeeze of honey and handful of herbs de provence. Your choice of vinegar will alter this dressing significantly. Lately I've been using a nice light pomegranate from "O". You can use a citrus, champagne or even balsamic, which Hiro used. Try them out to see which you prefer.
With a fork or wisk, beat the ingredients into a whirl and start adding some olive oil slowly, creating an emulsion as you go. Hiro and I both switch mid-way to canola oil to keep it lighter. You can use 1/2 and 1/2 or all of either if you prefer. Add salt and pepper to taste. At the end, plane some Parmigiano-Reggiano. You want to plane it to get the finest texture.
Dry your leaves thoroughly and break them up by hand, like above. Coat them with ample Parmigiano-Reggiano and toss them in the dressing. Crack some pepper on top. Croutons work well with this.
I hope this means Katja is planning to make this for tomorrow's gathering.