radicchio salad with cornbread croutons and apple cider dressing

Happy first day of autumn, 2022. I’m excited to kick off my fall recipes with this radicchio salad. Radicchio is a leafy chicory widely used in Italy; varieties are named after the Italian region from which they originate. Treviso radicchio, used in this recipe, looks similar to an endive and has a bitter flavor that is characteristic of all radicchio. To balance out the bitterness I added apple (a sweeter variety), creamy blue cheese, and a generous tablespoon or two of honey in the dressing. I recently discovered cornbread croutons (insert chef’s kiss here) which add an orangey-fall color and contrast nicely with the deep purple radicchio. It’s a “knife and fork salad”, which basically means that the salad looks pretty on your plate, but you have to exert the tiniest bit of effort to eat it. Happy fall eating!


RADICCHIO SALAD WITH CORNBREAD CROUTONS AND APPLE CIDER DRESSING

yields two side salads

Ingredients:
10 large leaves of Treviso radicchio (one medium or large head of radicchio should be plenty)
1/3 of a large apple, a sweet variety (or 1/2 of a small apple)
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1.5 oz (roughly 1/3 cup) crumbled blue cheese (go for a creamy, mild blue)
2 cups cornbread croutons (see below)

cornbread croutons:
2 heaping cups (approx 6oz) of bite sized cornbread cubes*
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
heaping 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

apple cider dressing:
4 tablespoons toasted hazelnut or toasted walnut oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1-2 tablespoons honey (start with 1T and add more if desired)
generous pinch of kosher salt
black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Make the cornbread croutons: In a medium bowl, dust the cornbread cubes evenly with the smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the cornbread while tossing gently (it’s ok if some of the cornbread gets a bit crumbly). Heat a large pan (cast iron if you have it) to medium heat. Add the cornbread cubes to the pan and spread out into an even layer. Cook for 8-10 min, flipping the pieces over as they brown (watch closely to prevent the cornbread from burning). When browned, remove the cornbread from the pan onto a plate. Let cool.

2. Make the apple cider dressing: Whisk dressing ingredients together in a large mixing bowl (yes large, see step 3).

3. Assemble salad: Rinse 10 large radicchio leaves in cold water and pat dry. Add the radicchio to the bowl with the salad dressing. Very gently toss the radicchio with your hands until all the leaves are coated. Place 5 radicchio leaves on each of two large plates. Evenly distribute the apple, hazelnuts, blue cheese, and cornbread croutons onto the radicchio. If desired, drizzle any remaining dressing over the salads.

*I use store bought cornbread to save time, though you can certainly make your own. Either way, it doesn’t need to be fresh, in fact a couple days old works well

Tip: Want to make this a main dish? Add some shredded chicken or crispy tofu.

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