Grilled Radiccio/photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Just about anything can be grilled that won’t slip through the grate or grilling basket. You can’t grill batter, you can’t grill soup (though you could keep it hot on a grill). I don’t know that I’d grill a tough vegetable, like cabbage or kale, but you could try.

One of my favorite vegetables to grill is radicchio.  Its natural bitter notes take on the smokey charred flavors of hot open flames deliciously. And when paired with the acidic sweetness of balasamic vinegar, it’s a great side dish.

I’d like to underscore the importance of balsamic vinegar here. Its intense sweet acidity offsets the natural (pleasing) bitterness all foods grilled over high heat pick up. I love a product called Crema di Balsamico, which is basically pre-reduced balsamic. Just a few drops of it are all that’s needed to finish so many dishes—grilled pork chops, grill chicken, or this grilled radicchio. But a good balsamic vinaigrette works well too.

Grilled Radicchio with Balsamic Vinegar

Serves 4 to 8, depending on the size of the raddichio (a good-sized quarter head per person)

  • 2 heads radicchio, quartered through the core so that the leaves don’t fall apart
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon crema di balsamico (or a balsamic vinaigrette, below)
  • 1 orange or lemon (optional)
  1. Rub each quarter of radicchio with olive oil.
  2. Grill them over high, till they’re tender and nicely charred, 5 to 10 minutes depending on your fire.
  3. Salt them, and drizzle them with the crema di balsamico (or balsamic vinaigrette)
  4. Garnish them with orange zest or lemon zest and give them a squeeze of juice.

(For a good balsamic vinaigrette, combine a tablespoon of minced shallot with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Give it a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper, and let the shallot macerate in the vinegar for 5 to 10 minutes.  Stir in 2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil. Spoon this over the radicchio.

If you liked this post on grilled radicchio, check out these other links:

© 2011 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2011 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.

12 Wonderful responses to “Friday Grilling: Radicchio”

  • Michael @ Herbivoracious

    I do something very much like this too, usually shaving a bit of reggiano on at the end. I like to bust out some naturally thick balsamico tradizionale too, since this is a dish where you can really appreciate its complexity against the bitterness of the radicchio. Love the idea of orange zest, that sounds great.

  • Mantonat

    I’ve grilled collard greens with just a little olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. They’re great because they get crispy and smoky. If I’m braising collards, I usually leave the stems, but I cut them off when grilling because they don’t cook quickly enough. Put the grilled collards on a plate with a steak or some juicy sausage on top so they soak up the juices.

  • Carol Peterman/TableFare

    Your post made me realize I need to try growing radicchio in my garden next summer! I too am a big fan of it gilled. I love the grains of salt in the photo. Just makes me want to take a bite.

    • Paul Kobulnicky

      Carol … depending where you are, Radicchio is a cool weather crop. Growing it in the “summer” in most of the US will get you a plant that just bolts to seed. In Ohio, I plant in early August, give it shade till Sept. then let it go. Great radicchio in late Oct.

  • BJ

    Donna can make ANYTHING look good! How artistic ! I know what grilled endives taste like, and I love them, but this looks better than it tastes. I find myself…..staring……….

  • Kathy

    Yum! I’ve cooked cabbage on the grill, cut into wedges and popped into foil packets with butter, salt and pepper (and sometimes a few sprigs of fresh thyme). Not technically grilling it, I guess, but it does keep the kitchen cool and the cabbage caramelizes really nicely and gets super sweet while the meat grills.

  • Paul Kobulnicky

    I make this all the time. I use a really good sherry vinegar or some other nice wine vinegar. If you char the radicchio properly, that gives you enough sweetness. I also do this in bad weather on top of the stove on a very hot cast-iron griddle (with a good exhaust hood). Both ways (inside or out) it goes well with some whole wheat gemelli and your favorite hard cheese.

  • Run Fast Travel Slow

    This sounds terrific. And you’re absolutely right about the great pairing of radicchio and balsamic. When I went to parillas (steakhouses) in Buenos Aires, I was surprised by how delicious the simple salads were… Each salad was a different lettuce (radicchio, endive, etc.), each paired with a light balsamic vinaigrette.

  • Chuck

    I can’t tell you how much I love grilled radicchio! I usually salt and oil it pretty aggressively and give it a good dash of sherry vinegar before putting it on a hot grill. Something about how the salt bitter sweet and acid combine with the char from the grill just makes it the most delicious and intense thing. It kicks my salivary glands into overdrive to the extent that I’m practically drooling now just thinking about it.