Salad of the Month: Valentine's Day Roasted Radicchio with Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranate seeds make this winter salad of roasted radicchio pop with flavor!

Instead of making a sweet and chocolatey treat for Valentine's Day, I decided to do the opposite and make something with a complex, bitter flavor. Why bitter, you may ask? According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each flavor (sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty) nourishes a different organ. Bitter-tasting foods nourish the heart, so I thought it fitting to include a recipe that would benefit the heart on a day when we are encouraged to express our love.

In this salad the radicchio is roasted, and its bitter flavor is balanced by a reduced balsamic dressing and a generous sprinkle of nutty Parmesan cheese, plus some plump, juicy pomegranate seeds to finish it off. Besides being super-tasty and pretty to look at with its deep purple, pink and red colors, this salad is a snap to put together — although you wouldn't know it from the impressive flavor combination.

Roasted Radicchio Valentine’s Salad

Here the balsamic vinegar is reduced to create the consistency of a good aged balsamic and to concentrate the flavor. If you have some aged balsamic that’s thick and syrupy, then you can use 2 tablespoons of it in place of the reduced vinegar.

Serves 4
For the roasted radicchio
2 medium radicchio
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper
For the dressing
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
For the salad
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
Black pepper
Roast the radicchio:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Cut each radicchio in half from top to bottom. Cut each half into 3 wedges and lay on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a large pinch of salt and pepper, and gently toss to coat in oil. Roast for 25 minutes or until browning. Remove from oven and set aside.

Make the dressing:

Add balsamic vinegar to a small skillet over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until vinegar has thickened and reduced to 2 tablespoons. Pour into a small bowl and whisk in olive oil and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Assemble the salad:

Place 3 wedges of roasted radicchio on each of 4 plates. Divide Parmesan and pomegranate seeds over the radicchio and drizzle each salad with a tablespoon of dressing. Top with cracked pepper and serve.

Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer based in New York City. She is the author of the award winning cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. See more of Amy's recipes at amychaplin.com.

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