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.

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