I call this grown-up radicchio salad because radicchio is not for everyone. As a general rule, children are more sensitive to the bitter taste, so grown-ups are more likely to appreciate bitter leaves in their meal.
This salad is all about contrast and complement. The sweetness of the sultanas mellow down the radicchio’s bitterness. The saltiness of the cheese and the prosciutto counter-balance the sweetness. Finally, the different textures, from the crunchiness of the radicchio to the bite of the pine nuts and the softness of the boiled eggs, complement each other.
If you want to up your grown-up game, go ahead and soak the sultanas in pisco or grappa for at least 1 hour before putting the meal together. Drain the sultanas before adding them to the salad.
Grown-up radicchio salad
- 4 cups radicchio
- 2 celery stalks
- 50g good quality bacon or prosciutto
- 4 large eggs
- 40g hard cheese such as Pecorino, Parmesan or aged Cheddar
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 tbsp sultanas
- small handful of parsley leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar (aged if possible)
- 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- * Optional: read instructions above if you want to soak the sultanas in booze before making the salad.
- Place pine nuts in a dry pan at low-medium heat. Toast for a 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Don’t let them burn. Reserve and wipe the pan.
- Cut bacon or prosciutto in batons and place in the same pan at low-medium heat. Cook until nicely browned and crispy.
- While the bacon cooks, cook eggs to your liking (my preference is soft-boiled).
- Tear radicchio with your hands. Finely slice celery. Mix in a bowl.
- Add sultanas and parsley leaves. Add vinegar and olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss to mix.
- Serve salad on plates. Scatter bacon and shaved cheese, add eggs and sprinkle pinenuts on top. Season with more freshly ground black pepper if desired.