To help us prep the second course of our next festive dinner party, famed foodie and author of 'A Table In Venice', Skye McAlpine, shifts her culinary expertise from her starter of scallops on the shell (as seen in last week’s installment), to a colourful main course of roasted radicchio, peppered with pomegranate seeds.
Think a sprinkling of sharp, sweet pomegranate over charred, beautifully bitter radicchio, seasoned with a generous slug of olive oil and a dash of salt.
Local to the Veneto region, radicchio is a kind of chicory. It comes in many different shapes and sizes but the kind Skye favours, known as tardivo, has long spindly leaves ‘not unlike the tentacles of an octopus,’ says Skye. It’s milder and slightly sweeter than most other varieties.
- Skye McAlpine
Radicchio is not strictly a ‘Christmas food’, though there is something about the beautiful, claret-hued leaves that does inevitably feel Christmassy to me.
“The shades of red—the deep burgundy of the radicchio and the shimmering ruby of the pomegranate seeds—are a welcome burst of colour on the plate during the austere months.
“I especially love it cooked this way, roasted in the oven and topped with shimmering red pomegranate seeds. This is unbelievably simple to prepare: literally no more complicated than halving the head of radicchio, seasoning with olive oil and salt, and roasting for some twenty or so minutes in the oven.
“Seduced by its simplicity, this has come to be an absolute favourite recipe of mine, especially at this time of year, when I’m cooking for friends and family so often.”
What you’ll need
- Three heads of tardivo radicchio
- Four tablespoons of olive oil
- Seeds from ½ pomegranate
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
How it’s done
- Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.
- Quarter the heads of radicchio lengthways and arrange the wedges in a large baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 15–20 minutes, until the tips of the leaves begin to curl and crisp up; if you plunge a knife into the body of the radicchio it should feel tender.
- Remove the tray from the oven. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds generously over the cooked radicchio, then drizzle with a little more olive oil, if you like. Serve warm.
Find everything you need to outfit your festive feasts here.