Radicchio Bundles

Radicchio Bundles

Makes 10-12 bundles

A combination of slightly bitter and creamy, licorice-y and sweet.

Ingredients

  • 1 – 2 heads of radicchio, washed, dried and separated into leaves (10-12 leaves, each four inches across).  Choose a variety without a thick, stiff center rib
  • 1 large ball fresh mozzarella (mozzarella da bufala, if possible)  cut into 10-12 ¼ inch-thick slices
  • 4 – 6 fresh basil leaves, torn into 5 – 6 pieces each.
  • Olive oil for brushing on the bundles before grilling and for sprinkling on after grilling.
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt (a rough flaky kind)
  • Three cups mixed baby greens, washed
  • Finely grated zest of one lemon
  • Kitchen string cut into 10-12 six-inch lengths
  • Charcoal grill or gas—fired grill or grill-pan

1. Fire up the grill to medium heat with the rack three-four inches above the fire.

2. Trim the radicchio leaves if they are much longer than 5 inches.  If they are crisp and stiff, blanche them briefly by plunging them into a pot of boiling water for 3 -4 seconds, lifting them out and draining them on paper towels.  Pat dry.

3.  Lay out the leaves on a counter, insides up.  Place a slice of cheese, 4 – 5 slivers of torn basil inside.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and with a dusting of lemon zest.  Brush with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

4.  Bundle them as you would wrap a package, making sure to leave no openings. Tie up with a length of string, trim the string ends—so they don’t fall between the grill grates and catch on fire.  Brush bundles lightly with oil.

5.  Brush the grill with oil if it tends to stick.  Lay the bundles on the grill and test stickiness by placing a spatula under them once.  Cook for two minutes or until they soften and intensify in color; flip and grill for another two minutes or until very soft.  Timing here will vary a bit depending on the grill and heat as well as the thickness of the leaves.  You want to keep them on the grill until the mozzarella melts inside but not so long as to burn!

6. Snip off the string and serve them atop baby greens, dressed with the remaining balsamic vinegar and oil.

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