Ruby Tuesday Charred Radicchio Salad

Okay, I’m happy to admit that I’m a salad munching freak mental, it’s no secret that I love dem greens but sometimes it’s good to rev things up a bit and this racy red number is just the ticket. I’m always saying salads ain’t for sissies and this one is no exception, the flavours aren’t fucking around, they’re as bold as the colour making this dish a particularly good partner that can hold its own with a big tasty slab of red meat.

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Get this stuff

1 radicchio lettuce (about 350 grams)

10 cherry tomatoes

1 large red capsicum (about 200 grams)

10 anchovies, ideally in olive oil

2 T baby capers

1/2 red onion

1 clove garlic

2 T good quality olive oil

Cracked salt and pepper

Do this with it

The salsa topping component of this salad will really benefit from being made half an hour or so in advance to allow the flavours to meld and mingle and get all sexy without being soggy so start here.

Get yourself a good sharp knife, you’re going to want this for all the dicing you’re about to do. If a fuck off good knife isn’t something you already own put it on your Christmas list, every kitchen chore will be immeasurably more pleasant plus you’ll feel a bit badass wielding that bastard which is always fun. Cut the capsicum and tomatoes into small pieces, finely chop the onion and toss it all into a bowl along with the capers to get the ball rolling. Mince the garlic either by using a garlic crusher or, by my preferred method of bashing it with the back of a knife, sprinkling in salt and then chopping into a paste, then do much the same with your anchovies but leaving out the salt, these tasty suckers have enough of their own already. Add the anchovies and garlic to the bowl, pour over the olive oil and give it all a good dose of freshly ground salt and pepper. Mix well, taste to check the seasoning and then put it aside in the fridge to let the flavours do their thing.

Slice the radicchio in half and then into 3-4 wedges for each half. The trick here is to keep the wedges relatively chunky and leave the core in tact to hold the pieces together. And now to bring the heat. I like using a griddle pan (that’s the wiggly bottomed one) because it helps char the leaves without making them soggy and also creates a funky pattern which looks a bit flash but if you only have a frypan no drama, it’ll still do the job just fine. Get the pan good and hot then add a splash of olive oil or better yet, if you’ve managed to get some good quality anchovies you can use a splash of the olive oil they’re packed in to add deeper flavour. Lay the radicchio wedges in the pan gently on their sides and leave for about 30 seconds or so. The goal here is just to lightly char and warm through so it starts to soften without turning it into a soggy mess so keep an eye on it, as soon as it starts to change colour turn it over gently so the wedges don’t fall apart – treat your pretty veggies with the love and tenderness they deserve.

Once both sides are lightly browned remove the pan from the heat and lay the wedges on a platter. Grab your salsa mix that has now become a melting pot of bold flavours and pour it gently over the radicchio. You want to create a nice even spread so that when you serve each wedge will be like a little self contained salad loaded with all that uber tasty tomato topping.

And because I think you guys are fucking alright I’ll let you in on a secret – the tomato topping from this recipe is a bloody versatile bugger. It’s great on charred broccolini or broccoli and fab on lightly cooked green beans.

Serves 2 as a star side dish for a main meal or more as an entree or if you’re also serving other veggies.

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