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Charred Radicchio with Sweet-and-Sticky Balsamic and Bacon

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Serves 8 to 10

  • by from Charred & Scruffed

The soft grilled leaves of bitter radicchio respond well to the sticky-sweet acidity of good balsamic vinegar. It fills the mouth with bitter sweetness, a well-matched foil to grill-roasted leg of lamb. And the bacon makes it all better, because that’s the great culinary virtue of smoky, fatty cured pork.

for the vinaigrette
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbs.finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste (1 to 2 cloves mashed with a pinch of salt)
  • Pinch each of sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp.dried oregano
For the radicchio
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 to 5 heads radicchio, quartered and core trimmed
  • 16 to 20 slices bacon
  • 2 Tbs. aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives

Preheat the grill to medium-low.

Make the vinaigrette

Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Prepare and grill the radicchio

Put the radicchio in a large bowl and drizzle with just enough vinaigrette to coat lightly, tossing gently.

Lay a slice of bacon on a work surface and wrap a radicchio quarter tightly in the bacon, starting from the bottom end and continuing to just shy of 1/4-in. from the top. Repeat with the remaining bacon and radicchio.

Put the radicchio quarters on the oiled clean grill grate and cook until crispy and golden on the first side, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until crisp and golden on the second side, about 2 minutes, then turn and cook until crisp and golden on the third side.

Transfer the radicchio to a platter. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, sprinkle with the chopped chives, and serve.

Photo: Simon Wheeler

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