radicchio | citrus | shaved fennel | toasted hazelnuts
I was in Italy early October, on Lake Bolsena, with my father and brothers and sister, and all the children. They rented a big house. Every day, we went somewhere, walked around, and ate lunch out. Every evening, we came home and made a big family dinner with whatever looked fresh at the village greengrocer. So you buy what’s in season, and then you have to figure out what to do with it… I think this was night #4. (Along with some lake fish, bean soup, and pasta for the kids).
Everyone will love this salad – even people who “don’t love fennel” and “don’t love radicchio.” Like autumn itself, this dish is complex and bittersweet. You can, of course, adjust proportions if you want to play up any one flavor or texture. But really, this one is about balance.
I’ve seen fennel-radicchio salads before, usually with honey-and-vinegar dressings. But I’d rather not go in so heavy-handed. The citrus drips in some nice flavor, almost by accident. Then a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, and plenty of coarse black pepper is all I need. Maybe some flaky salt.
- 1 head radicchio about the size of a baseball
- 1 large or two small fennel bulbs
- 2 sweet oranges
- 1 pink grapefruit
- 1 Tbsp very good olive oil
- ½ C toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- very coarsely ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: flaky salt
- Shave the fennel very thin. Slice the radicchio into thick ribbons. Section the citrus.
- Toss everything together, except the hazelnuts and salt. Don’t skimp on the black pepper. If your fennel bulb came with fronds green dilly fronds, you can chop and sprinkle a little on top now.
- This salad can keep for days and days in the fridge. When ready to serve, add the hazelnuts and flaky salt, so they don’t lose their crunch.