Tim Foolery

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Grilled Fennel and Radicchio Salad

The first thing we made in our Rendezvous Under the Stars cooking class was a Grilled Fennel and Radicchio Salad.  I’ve grilled Radicchio before and really loathed it. It was just too bitter for me, but I did like the way it looks when grilled.  I wasn’t too excited about this salad, when I saw it on the class handout. I’m not a big fan of the anise flavor of Fennel either — if I was just leafing through a recipe book I would just skipped this recipe.  I’m quite happy this was part of class – it was so tasty and refreshing on a hot summer day.

The recipe is from the Chopping Block – I have made no alterations to this recipe.

Serves 4-6 people as an appetizer salad

2 fennel bulbs, cut into 1/2″ slices (we just quartered ours in class)
1 head radicchio, quartered
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
2 oranges, cut into segments
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

  1. Heat the grill to medium
  2. Brush the cut sides of the fennel and radicchio with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste
  3. Grill the fennel on the first side until nicely caramelized (2-3 minutes), flip and repeat. Continue to grill until tender. Set aside to cool
  4. Grill the cut sides of the radicchio until slightly charred (1-2 minutes)
  5. Cut the grilled fennel into slices and place in a bowl. Cut the radicchio into rough medium dice and mix with the fennel
  6. Dress the fennel and radicchio with lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil to taste. Toss in the parsley leaves. tarragon, oranges, almonds and cannellini beans
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at room temperature
The sweetness of the oranges and the citrus from the lemon really cut the bitterness of the radicchio and the anise of the fennel.  I had a very low expectation of this recipe but it really shocked me, it will definitely make it into my recipe box.
Grilling the fennel
Chef-instructor Michelle showing
us how segment an orange
Michelle offering guidance on the radicchio chopping
Jamie segmenting an orange 
Mixing the herbs with the orange segments.
Completed salad – it is much tastier
than this picture leads one to believe.

Have you made a recipe full of ingredients that you don’t really like on their own, but when put together you really dig it? How do you cut the bitterness of vegetables like radicchio? Do you have a great summer grilled salad recipe – if so, post it in the comments and we can all enjoy it!

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