When it comes to pushing the boundaries of barbecue and grilling, I look no further for inspiration than Adam Perry Lang. A professional chef who has worked in some of the world's finest restaurants, Adam's first cookbook Serious Barbecue quickly became one of my favorites from beginning to end. A few years later, Adam followed it up with another instant classic Charred & Scruffed (Artisan Books) which includes countless wonderful recipes including this one for charred radicchio with sweet-and-sticky balsamic and bacon.
"When I am sitting in a business meeting, I often daydream about food, as I was on the day when we had a meeting in Jamie Oliver’s conference room. On the wall, there was a stunning, poetic picture of radicchio wrapped in bacon, just about to go into the oven. I thought about how it would taste. Actually, I think the impression was so strong that I truly tasted it. And then, as people who think about food tend to do, I thought about what I might do with radicchio.
"I visualized grilling its deep-red leaves to a bitter char that would match the char on a piece of grilled meat. The soft grilled leaves would respond well to the sticky-sweet acidity of good balsamic vinegar. It fills the mouth with bitter sweetness, a well-matched foil to Double-Butterflied Leg of Lamb or Roasted Rib Stack with Worcestershire Salt. And the bacon makes it all better, because that’s the great culinary virtue of smoky, fatty cured pork. Here is that daydream on a plate." - Adam Perry Lang
CHARRED RADICCHIO WITH SWEET-AND-STICKY BALSAMIC AND BACON
Excerpted from Charred & Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang. (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2012. Photographs by Simon Wheeler.
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic paste (1 to 2 cloves mashed with a pinch of salt)
Pinch each of sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 to 5 heads radicchio, quartered and core trimmed
16 to 20 slices bacon
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Preheat the grill to medium-low.
For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Put the radicchio in a large bowl and drizzle with just enough vinaigrette to coat lightly, tossing gently.
Lay a slice of bacon on a work surface and wrap a radicchio quarter tightly in the bacon, starting from the bottom end and continuing to just shy of ¼ inch from the top. Repeat with the remaining bacon and radicchio.
Put the radicchio quarters on the oiled clean grill grate and cook until crispy and golden on the first side, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until crisp and golden on the second side, about 2 minutes, then turn and cook until crisp and golden on the third side.
Transfer the radicchio to a platter. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, sprinkle with the chopped chives, and serve.
Excerpted from Charred & Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang (Artisan Books). Copyright 2012.