Gluten-free, Side Dishes, Special Diets, Vegan/Vegetarian

Radicchio Pear Fig Salad with Mascarpone Dressing

Nicoletta May 21, 2019

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Radicchio Pear Fig Salad with Mascarpone Dressing, a symphony of flavors and textures dancing beautifully together, creating a balance between the bitterness of the radicchio and the sweetness of the pear and figs, all lusciously coated in a wonderful creamy mascarpone dressing and elevated with additions of fresh basil and salted Marcona almonds.

Song of the day: Why (Remix) – Shawn Mendes, ft. Leon Bridges

Radicchio pear fig salad with mascarpone dressing-with grissini

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]

Of the five universally accepted basic tastes that are perceived by our taste buds: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami, I have my personal rankings.

 

 

The Five Tastes

Sweet is on top of my list. Sweet taste makes me happy and gives me energy, although, too sweet brings it all to the opposite side, becoming almost unpleasant. Salty foods tickle my taste buds and stimulate my appetite. Sour I like it in moderation; while my palate seems to like yogurt, some cheeses, and citrus fruits, I thoroughly dislike vinegar, pickles, fermented foods. Bitter ranks very high in my preference: bitter greens like chicory, radicchio, endive, broccoli rabe are very appealing to my taste. Umami, the ‘pleasant savory taste’, speaks to my tongue bringing a myriad of good sensations: mushrooms, Parmigiano, miso, seaweed, just to name a few, I like them a lot.

Radicchio pear fig salad with mascarpone dressing-some ingredients

Radicchio Pear Fig Salad with Mascarpone Dressing

This salad is delightful because it plays with the taste receptors. There is the bitterness from the radicchio, the sweetness from the figs and pears, the saltiness from the Marcona almonds, and a little sourness from the grated lemon zest. The wonderful rich creaminess of the mascarpone dressing helps bring the flavors to balance. It wraps them all together delivering a most pleasurable taste bud experience.

Radicchio pear fig salad with mascarpone dressing-both radicchio in the bowl

Radicchio 101:

Radicchio [raˈdikkjo] is mostly associated with a bitter taste, and therefore I love it. It is a perennial cultivated form of leaf chicory (that’s it!), with a bitter and spicy taste. The varieties of radicchio are named after the Italian regions where they originate.

  • My favorite is Radicchio di Treviso IGP in the tardivo typewith its lancelike leaves, tightly packed heads that come to a point at the top, deep red in color with a white rib, distinctive bitter flavor and crunchy texture. It resembles a large red Belgian endive. Perfect either raw or cooked, often seen in risotto or grilled. I’ve never seen it in Canada, unfortunately.
  • Radicchio di Verona IGP, long oval shape, compact leaves of intense dark red decorated with a white midrib. Again, perfect either raw or cooked, used from appetizers to dessert. We used it to make an incredibly delicious Pizza and a fabulous Risotto.
  • Radicchio di Chioggia, with its cabbage-shaped head, is the most commonly found in supermarkets in Italy and abroad and it is one of the varieties I used for this salad. Mostly used in salads, it’s good also cooked (again, think risotto, pasta, pizza, or grilled).
  • Radicchio di Castelfranco, less known and widespread, with its yellowish cream leaf and red speckles, it is a tender, beautiful, rose-shaped lettuce, used in salads and it is the other variety we used here.

Radicchio Pear Fig Salad with Mascarpone Dressing-name on

Where can I find radicchio?

I would think your local Italian store or market would carry it. At least one variety of it. The Italian Centre Shop in Edmonton is well stocked in the produce section, and we found everything we needed to make this awesome salad. Just a few ingredients that create a symphony when paired together. However, if going to The Italian Centre Shop, be prepared to come home with way more than you thought, just because……………..

Radicchio pear fig salad with mascarpone dressing-grating lemon zest

Radicchio Pear Fig Salad with Mascarpone Dressing, a delightfully colorful and pleasing to the eye salad that delivers such amazing varieties of flavor and texture, that will surely have you with an eyebrow up discovering your taste bud sensations. Highly recommend getting some radicchio and have fun putting this wonderful salad together!

Radicchio Pear Fig Salad with Mascarpone Dressing says light, fresh, colorful, and oh so delicious! Spring has sprung, Summer is on its way, and salad season has officially launched!

Enjoy!

Song of the day: Why (Remix) – Shawn Mendes, ft. Leon Bridges.

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Radicchio pear fig salad with mascarpone dressing-with grissini

Radicchio Pear Fig Salad with Mascarpone Dressing

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

There is the bitterness from the radicchio, the sweetness from the figs and pears, the saltiness from the Marcona almonds, and a little sourness from the grated lemon zest on top. The wonderful rich creaminess of the mascarpone dressing helps bring the flavors to balance. It wraps them all together delivering a most pleasurable taste bud experience.


Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 170 g mixed radicchio
  • 2 Bartlett pears
  • 3 figs

For the Dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Dash of white sugar
  • Pinch of salt and white pepper

For the Garnish:

  • 4 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • A handful of salted Marcona almonds
  • A grating of lemon zest

Instructions

Salad:

  1. Pull apart leaves of radicchio and wash well. Place in a salad spinner and spin till all the water is off the leaves.
  2. Core pear and dice into ¼ inch pieces.
  3. Wash, dry and cut figs in half.
  4.  In a large wooden bowl break up radicchio leaves, place in diced pear, and cut figs. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.

Dressing:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the mascarpone with mayonnaise, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix until smooth and creamy.
  2. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss gently, making sure dressing has coated the ingredients well. Sprinkle with fresh basil and Marcona almonds. Grate some lemon zest.
  3. Ready to serve.

Enjoy!

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Radicchio pear fig salad with mascarpone dressing-in the plate

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]

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9 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply Margaret@Kitchen Frau May 21, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Mmmm. That definitely looks like my kind of salad – and I love the idea of the creamy dressing. We never had radicchio growing up, but now I’ve come to love it. I like having a few heads of it in my crisper drawer so I can slice some into my green salads, too. The pears and figs make yours look (and taste, I’m sure) very special!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta May 22, 2019 at 7:46 am

      That creamy dressing balanced all the flavors, and it was Loreto’s perfect touch 🙂 . The fruit brings the welcomed sweetness. So good, Margaret. Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Marisa May 21, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    This is such a pretty and colourful salad! I’m a radicchio fan but have never used mascarpone cheese in a salad dressing…I’m sure it tastes amazing!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta May 22, 2019 at 7:48 am

      Thank you so much, Marisa! Radicchio is so underratted. The dressing is Loreto’s touch. I only uses e.v.o. oil, salt and pepper in my salads, but this worked perfectly here.

  • Avatar
    Reply Nathalie May 22, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Looks delicious! So colorful! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Avatar
    Reply Milena May 23, 2019 at 9:06 am

    I love the combination of bitter radicchio and sweet Bartletts and figs! All of the flavors in this salad just sound dreamy, I must try it soon!

  • Avatar
    Reply Melanie @ Bon Appét'Eat May 23, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    This looks absolutely divine! Pinning for latee!

  • Avatar
    Reply Katherine | Love In My Oven May 23, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    I happen to love the bitterness of raddicchio! The contrast between the bitter and the sweet pear would be perfect! This sounds delicious, guys!

  • Avatar
    Reply Meg May 24, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    Wow this looks amazing, love the colourful veggies!!

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