Radicchio in Pancetta with Pears and Balsamic
Bitter chicories like radicchio and endive do well on the grill–let the tips of the leaves get a little brown, but don’t char them. Cool sweet pears are a nice contrast to the crisp pancetta. You could substitute good bacon for the pancetta: this recipe might be just the reason you need to join Grateful Palate’s Bacon-of-the-Month Club (see www.gratefulpalate.com).
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Courseappetizer, side dish
Dietary Considerationappetizer, side dish
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecrisp, fruity, salty, savory
- 6 heads Treviso radicchio (or substitute red/Verona radicchio or Belgian endive)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- About ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 12 thin slices pancetta
- 2 Cornice pears
- Good balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Cut the heads of radicchio lengthwise in half and lay cut side up on the cutting board. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle each half with a bit of olive oil.
Unroll the slices of pancetta. Tightly wrap each radicchio half in a slice of pancetta. Place the radicchio on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes (this will help the pancetta adhere to the radicchio).
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for indirect grilling.
Place the radicchio cut side down on the cooler part of the grill, with the stem ends toward the fire. Cook slowly for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, until the radicchio softens and the tips of the leaves are golden brown.
Meanwhile, core the pears and slice into very thin wedges. Set aside.
Move the radicchio to the hot part of the grill and cook for about 1 minute, turning once, to crisp the pancetta. Be careful not to let the flames lick up too high; if the radicchio begins to char, remove it from the grill.
Arrange the radicchio cut side up on a platter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Lay a couple of slices of pear over each one and serve immediately.
2008 Mario Batali