Let’s Waffle Some Radicchio
Many people were shocked to learn that I actively prepare and consume salads. It makes sense, since the image I exposed is somewhat gin-soaked and greased with bacon grease, and waffle honey buns and pizza leftovers don’t help. But I love good salads, especially if they contain a lot of corn, blue cheese, or radicchio.
At first glance, my love for radicchio doesn’t make sense. It’s a tough – almost rubbery – very bitter leaf, but it’s this texture and bitterness that makes it so fantastic in salad. Unlike baby greens or soft iceberg, radicchio consistently shows itself without fear of high amounts of salt, acid, fat or heat. (Plus, if you can bring my obsession with bitter amari to its logical conclusion, my attachment to this purple leaf will go a long way.)
Radicchio’s strong character also makes him a great candidate for grilling or – in our case – waffles. Grilled salads evoke fickle love, and many people are put off by the idea of a hot salad, but I’ve found that a little charcoal or caramelization can add a nice touch to a salad, and you don’t need to. serve hot. (I usually let the salad cool to room temperature before seasoning it.) The waffle radicchio isn’t quite charred, but it’s wilted, slightly caramelized, and slightly less bitter than raw.
But even a very hot waffle iron cannot make radicchio meek and soft. It still does not yield to other strong flavors. The waffle radicchio is a great vegetable for grilled, stewed, or grilled meats, but it’s also very good with a poached or fried egg on top.
To slice the radicchio into waffles, all you have to do is slice it into thin wedges (about 3/4 inch), keeping the leaves attached to the core. Brush both sides with a little olive oil and sauté in a waffle iron over medium to high heat until soft and dark and caramelized in places. Top off your waffle leaf with a very steep vinaigrette or a little lemon and honey (or maple syrup), then sprinkle with cheese and bacon if you feel like it. Really weld up the flavor; even in a slightly weakened, waffle form, radicchio can take it.