Look, let’s be honest, I make a really good radicchio salad. That may not mean much to most people because radicchio isn’t one of those vegetables that gets anyone excited. It’s bitter. It’s red. It’s red and bitter. What’s the big deal? Well: I like to serve it before a big, heavy dinner to wake up the palate–sort of like a vegetable Negroni. Only my vegetable Negroni has anchovies and garlic in it. So, actually, let’s forget that Negroni bit and focus on how I make it.
The key is using a mortar and pestle to make the dressing. For the radicchio, I just shred it with a sharp knife and also shred a green endive or two so there’s a variety of color. Toss those together and set aside.
Now, to make the dressing I like to put two cloves of garlic and three salt-packed anchovies that you’ve rinsed (or oil-packed if you can’t find the salt-packed kind) in a mortar and pestle and pound until it’s pasty. Should take about a full minute to get there.
Then whisk in fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon, a spoonful of Dijon mustard and about 1/2 cup olive oil until you have an emulsification. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and then dip a piece of radicchio in to taste. Do you love it? If it’s too assertive, you can whisk in more oil. If it’s not assertive enough, more lemon juice.
Toss the dressing, a little at a time, with the radicchio and endive and then add the final two ingredients: lots of grated Parmesan and walnuts that you’ve toasted and chopped pretty fine.
It’s an excellent way to start a meal (like that four-hour lamb), a perfect salad to have up your sleeve for dinner parties. You can thank me later.