This radicchio salad with oranges is a vibrant winter salad filled with juicy, crunchy, crispy textures.
The salad dressing is bright, slightly sweet and laced with nutty depth from sherry vinegar. The fresh acidity in the dressing and salty funk of pecorino help to tame the bitterness of radicchio and bring out its crispy sweetness. I top off this salad with salty smoked almonds for extra flavor and crunch.
But I’ll be honest here. I’m not a huge lover of bitter flavors. In wine speak and according the Tim Hanni MW, I’m a “hyper sensitive” taster.
That means I need to find ways to minimize the amount of bitterness and reduce its perception in order to fully enjoy bitter foods, like radicchio salads.
how do you make radicchio less bitter?
To help reduce some of the bitterness, I soak the chopped radicchio in ice water. This leaches out some of the bitter compounds and gives a milder lettuce.
You can also minimize the perception of bitterness. The use of sugar, salt and fat will mask the bitter taste and enhance the sweetness and deliciously crisp texture of radicchio.
In this salad I use sweet juicy oranges, and rich salty things like cheese and almonds to tame the bitterness. When tossed all together, this radicchio salad with oranges has a pleasant build on the back of your tongue that’s contrasted with sweet, acidic and salty flavors.
It’s balanced, juicy and incredibly addicting.
But whatever you do, don’t eat this salad with an IPA! Bitterness is an additive effect and a bitter beer (or bad Pinot Noir) will make it so much worse.
how do you cut radicchio for salads?
- Peel off a few of the older, damaged outer leaves
- Cut the radicchio head in half lengthwise, straight through the core
- Remove the core from each half by cutting a small “V” shape around the firm core
- Cut each half into four pieces, so you now have eight wedges total
- Chop each wedge into 1” pieces
should you wash radicchio?
You don’t need to wash radicchio. All you need to do is peel off and discard the old, dirty outer leaves (just like a head of cabbage). Then you can proceed with chopping the radicchio to your desired shape.
If you want to pull out some of the bitterness, however, you can soak the chopped radicchio in ice water for at least 30 minutes and up to a few hours. After soaking, drain the radicchio, spin it dry and proceed with your recipe.
more winter salad recipes to try:
radicchio salad with oranges and pecorino
This radicchio salad with oranges is a vibrant winter salad filled with juicy oranges, crunchy smoked almonds and the salty funk of pecorino cheese.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 6
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: American
- 5 small oranges (I love a mix of blood and navel)
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 head radicchio, halved, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup smoked, salted almonds, roughly chopped
- 3 oz Pecorino Romano, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
- Place radicchio in a salad spinner filled with ice water. Let sit 30 minutes to lessen bitterness, then drain the water and spin dry. Alternatively, use radicchio as is if the full bitterness doesn’t bother you.
- Carefully cut away the peel and pith from oranges. Hold the fruit over a small bowl to catch the juice, then use a paring knife to cut out the orange segments. Set aside orange segments. Squeeze the extra juice out of the membranes, then discard.
- To make the dressing, whisk together 2 tablespoons of reserved orange juice, sherry vinegar, honey, olive oil, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and black pepper (to taste) in a glass jar measuring cup.
- Put radicchio, almonds, orange segments and pecorino in a large bowl. Pour half of the dressing over top and toss to coat. Taste and add more dressing, salt or pepper as desired. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 192
- Sugar: 10g
- Sodium: 438mg
- Fat: 12g
- Saturated Fat: 3.4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 8.5g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 15g
- Fiber: 2.7g
- Protein: 6.9g
- Cholesterol: 15mg
Keywords: radicchio salad with oranges