Spring is all around us and I feel like having a simple salad using natural, organic ingredients like Radicchio, Pear, Taleggio and a handful of Walnuts. Fresh, crisp and bittersweet.
It wasn't a cold winter at all. It actually felt like spring almost everyday. But nonetheless it felt good to see the clock changing, the calendar pages turning and spring be officially announced. During these working months I regularly pack my lunch for work: easy, fast, nutritious (vegetarian) meals, that I eat on my desk on my lunch break. Very often, this meals consists of a mixed salad, where I try to combine a crisp lettuce, some fruit, nuts, and cheese. Here I created a Radicchio, Pear and Taleggio Salad.
The radicchio I used in this salad I found it during my shopping at Eataly, and it is a variety that is not so easy to find in grocery stores or farmer's markets outside its region of origin, Veneto: Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco. It is a beautiful rose shaped lettuce, with creamy colored leaves and bright red tips. Its flavor is bittersweet, it is crisp and crunchy, and it is perfect eaten raw in salads. My mother's sister and her family live in Vicenza, where I've been innumerable times since childhood, and where I first discovered all the different varieties of radicchio. I remember going with my aunt, a great home cook, in the morning, on a "fresh organic produce shopping spree", and going back home afterwards with a large straw basket full of all kinds of goodies, including this radicchio. My eyes wide open, my senses on alert, my young mind storing precious information.
How I put this Radicchio, Pear and Taleggio Salad together:
I thought that the right matches for this lettuce were: slices of a sweet, juicy, firm Abate Pear, cubes of an aromatic, nutty and slightly sour Taleggio cheese, and a handful of chopped walnuts. Drizzled on top a blend of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and just a hint of cherry jam. Courtesy of Loreto's suggestion, to whom I turned to in order to escape from my boring impulse to dress the salad only with the usual extra virgin olive oil and salt.
The dressing revealed to be the "icing on the cake". It blended beautifully all the different flavors and textures. It was such a pleasure for the tastebuds to eat this Radicchio Salad: the crunch, the soft, the bitter, the sweet, the fresh, danced on my tongue and enlightened my mood.
It is easy and fast to put together, highly nutritious and utterly satisfactory. And a nice break from all the carbs and sweets that are regularly on my diet during my Italian stay. I need to check my calories intake because since I'm here I stopped my regular exercise: yoga and jazzercise are becoming a faint memory and my body is aching to go back to a fitness routine. The only exercise I am doing (other than putting a fork in my mouth) is walking. If you've been to Rome, you know what I'm talking about, and if you're planning on visiting, prepare to walk like crazy when you're here.
The sunrays are gently kissing my skin as I'm eating this salad, and there is a quietness all around; must be that at lunch time everybody stops to enjoy their meal.
This Radicchio, Pear and Taleggio Salad is a light, tasty meal, just right for spring and the upcoming summer. It will brighten up your day.
Song of the day: "It's time", Imagine Dragons.Print
Radicchio, Pear and Taleggio Salad
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- 4 radicchio leaves
- ¼ cup taleggio cheese (or a cheese of your choice)
- ½ pear, peeled and sliced
- a handful of walnuts, chopped
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp cherry jam
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and dry radicchio leaves.
- Chop radicchio into long slivered pieces.
- Cube taleggio cheese.
- Wash and cut and peel pear into thin wedges.
- Chop walnuts.
- Place radicchio leaves on a plate.
- Arrange with pear wedges, and taleggio on the sides.
- Toss walnuts in the center of the radicchio.
- In a small ramekin combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and jam, salt and crushed red peppercorns.
- Whisk briskly.
- Drizzle over salad.
- Toss and enjoy!
In the plating be creative and create your own style, use other ingredients, have fun with it.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Serving Size: single serving
And here's another Radicchio Salad you might like: Radicchio and Wild Greens Salad with Asiago, Macadamia Nuts and Cranberries
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I love baking and kneading dough because it takes me to a happy place in my soul.
What a gorgeous recipe! I've never actually used radicchio, and clearly I need to change that! I would totally eat this salad. Beautiful photos, too 🙂
Thank you so much, Dana, I'm sure you would love radicchio once you taste it. It has a distinct bittersweet, crisp flavor and in salads it matches really well with cheese, nuts and fruit.
Oh my! This sounds spectacular. I have been adding pears to every salad I've made of late.
And the dressing is definitely something I can try. I made a batch of cherry amaretto preserves that I can use in place of the jam.
Off to go browse what I have for salad.
Thank you Redawna! It is a pretty simple recipe but very flavorful. I'm sure your cherry amaretto would be a good compliment in the dressing. Aren't pears a great addition in salads ? I love them!
Jackie @ supermancooks says
This is a masterpiece as far as I am concerned, Nicoletta: crunchy, bitter, sweet.. a perfect bite! It reminds me so much of Italy, I want to be in Rome with you!! I have never seen this kind of radicchio before. It is gorgeous! I wonder if they have it at Eataly here? I am definitely going to go have a look!
Oh Jackie I would love to go on a shopping adventure with you here in Rome and then we'll come there and compare Eataly Rome to Eataly Usa 🙂 . Thanks for the nice comment! I would try and see if you can find the radicchio at Eataly.
Sasha @ Eat Love Eat says
That radicchio is beautiful! I've only ever eaten taleggio melted on top of some crusty bread before, never simply as is in a salad. Lovely!
Thanks Sasha! It's beautiful, isn't it? Taleggio is amazing melted but it's also perfectly soft and tasty to compliment salads. It has a distinct smell but it's worth the while 😉
karrie @ Tasty Ever After says
That radicchio is gorgeous!!! Well, the whole salad is too 😉 I always have a hunk of taleggio in my refrig because it's one of my favorite cheeses. I have to go to the grocery store tomorrow and I'm going to get the rest of the ingredients and make this over the weekend. It looks so light yet filling. Can't wait to taste it 🙂
Thank you Karrie, yes it's gorgeous, like a rose. I love taleggio too, its smell and taste are strong but sooo good. Paired with radicchio is perfect, in fact it is used in a risotto with radicchio and taleggio, I still have to post that! Hope you find that kind of radicchio, but you can use the other varieties, too, so you can taste the whole combo of ingredients
the actor's diet says
So excited for Eataly to come to LA - what a gorgeous salad!
Yesss! Eataly is an amazing place! When we go there for shopping (intensive shopping 😉 ) we always have something to eat in one of the restaurants. Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by!
demeter | beaming baker says
Radicchio is so beautiful, isn't it? Nicoletta, I saw a photo of your gorgeous salad on Instagram and it immediately made an impression on me. 🙂 I love that you had such a wonderful time during lunch enjoying this. The imagery of the sunrays on your skin made me miss California (it's still raining here in Maine). Thanks for sharing another wonderful recipe. Have a wonderful weekend, Nicoletta!
Thank you so much, Demeter. I enjoyed this salad greatly, especially eating it basking in the sun. California must have been so nice and warm! Too bad for the rain in Maine 🙁 . Have a fantastic weekend!
Jolina - The Unlikely Baker says
What a lovely salad! Looks and sounds so refreshing. Love that it has pears too, we add them to our salads too, adds crunch and sweetness to it. Love cheese too but I have to say I haven't tried taleggio...another reason to try! (PS: I'm secretly jealous that the sun is kissing your skin as you eat this gorgeous salad...even though it's technically spring here...there's still snow!)
Thank you so much Jolina! Pears are such a great compliment in salads, especially here where they counterbalance the bitterness of the radicchio. And taleggio...well, you gotta try it (very strong smell but sooo good). I was lucky we had a gorgeous winter in Rome, and now the sun is sooo warm!
Carol Borchardt says
Taleggio is seriously my new favorite thing and it's better than brie! This is a lovely combination of ingredients!
Thank you Carol, isn't Taleggio amazing? I love it and use it quite bit, especially in combination with radicchio (it's awesome in risotto radicchio and taleggio 😉 ).