Peanut butter and jelly. BBQ ribs and corn on the cob. Bacon and eggs. All are stellar examples of food pairing, where one plus one equals three. Today I am sharing Melissa Clark's incredible pairing where one plus one equals four (and it actually serves four as well).
Radicchio, also known as Italian Chicory, has a rather bitter and spicy taste. But lay it on the grill for three minutes and it magically transforms. The taste mellows, the bitterness recedes...the spiciness becomes more muted.
And hot Italian sausage, how many ways do I love thee? I prefer Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage. The heat of the red pepper and the snap of fennel seed makes them my "go-to" choice every time. So many of the other Italian sausages I've tried are just too much "pork forward". I like the pork taste to be in the background...not center stage.
This whole meal can be made in less than 15 minutes. But it will taste like you have spent hours laboring to achieve such culinary perfection. Grill the radicchio, then bathe it in olive oil and lemon juice...and when the fat from the sausages gets added....welcome to your own little serving of heaven. I would recommend you serve this dish with crostini:(http://terrygruggen.blogspot.com/2013/03/kalamata-tapenade-with-crostini.html)
2 large heads radicchio (about 10 ounces each)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
2 pounds hot Italian sausage
1 lemon, halved
Basil leaves for serving
- Light or heat up the grill. Halve radicchios lengthwise through stem end, and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil (or more if you need it to coat) and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Put radicchios, cut side down, and sausages on the grill and cover. Let cook for 3 minutes, until outer radicchio leaves are dark brown. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool while sausages finish cooking, about 5 minutes more.
- When cool enough to handle, thinly slice radicchios. The outsides should be charred, and the insides should still be crisp and raw. Combine in a bowl with another 2 tablespoons olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Taste and correct seasonings, adding lemon juice, salt and olive oil to taste.
- Spread radicchio on a platter and top with grilled sausages. Garnish with basil and serve.
Wine pairing: Rombauer Zinfandel