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
- 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.