Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Roasted Radicchio and Shrimp

Isn't it odd that nobody admits to liking bitter things? Obviously, people must, because otherwise no-one would drink coffee or IPA. Bitterness is important. It adds depth and contrast. It tempers things that are overly sweet. It's why dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate.

Ready to go in the oven
And if you want a list of boring health reasons, look here:
Reasons to eat bitter greens

The recipe below uses radicchio, a famously bitter vegetable that I had never used before. The bitterness is supposed to be tempered by the salad dressing, and the salad dressing is a thing of beauty, I highly recommend it.

roasted radicchio
But the radicchio itself turned out to be too bitter for me. Maybe if you added some wedges of red cabbage into it, or used it only as a relish. I can see where (minus the shrimp) this might be great with a nice thick steak. But on its own, I just couldn't take it.

For those of you with stouter taste buds, the recipe is below.

Roasted Radicchio and Shrimp

2 small heads radicchio
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
3 strips of bacon (about 3 ounces), cut into lardons
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons maple syrup (or to taste; see note in step 5)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or chives

Heat the oven to 425°F.
To prep radicchio: Remove any wilted or bruised outer leaves, then cut the radicchio in half lengthwise through the core. Place the halves cut side down, then cut each half into four wedges, leaving the root end intact. In a large bowl, gently toss the wedges with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper. Place the wedges cut side down in a casserole dish—you want them to fit snugly in the pan. Let the radicchio marinate at room temperature while your oven is preheating.
To prep shrimp: Toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper; then arrange on a baking sheet or casserole. (Note: Use separate pans for roasting the shrimp and radicchio because they’ll have different cooking times.)
To roast radicchio and shrimp: Roast the radicchio about 15 to 18 minutes, turning once, or until tender and the leaves are starting to caramelize and slightly wilt and crisp around the edges. When the radicchio is close to done, put in the shrimp. Cook the shrimp just until they’re pink and firm, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove both from the oven, and place the radicchio wedges on a cutting board. Chop them into bite-size pieces, and combine with shrimp in a large bowl.
To prepare warm bacon vinaigrette: In a large skillet cook the bacon in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over moderately high heat until it's rendered its fat and is starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and cook another minute, just to warm through and soften. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, mustard, maple syrup and cherry tomatoes. 
Add the vinaigrette to the radicchio and shrimp, and toss to combine. Place salad on large serving platter. Scatter the parsley or chives over the top and serve warm or at room temperature.

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