It’s sad to think it’s taken me well over a month for my first post on food, which is what much of my life revolves around. Every once in a while, I enjoy discovering a new ingredient–something I never would have cooked with a few years ago–and figuring out how to cook with it, all so one day I can go to the farmers’ market and ask for some truly obscure form of produce, leading people to think I grew up on an agricultural commune outside of Bolinas rather than a tract home in San Jose.
This week, that ingredient is radicchio. Until about a week ago, I wasn’t quite sure what radicchio was, until I was reading the July issue of Cooking Light while catsitting for our neighbor and stumbling across a recipe for Indian lamb burgers with radicchio and roasted red pepper. We bought two heads of radicchio on Saturday for the burgers and quickly discovered that, well, radicchio is pretty damn spicy and bitter, so using two heads, which are quite small, on burgers is like tweaking your chili with a gallon of hot sauce. You can do it, but why would you?
So four burgers later, we had a head of radicchio left over–and we’re going on vacation on Wednesday. What to do? My wife and I were both thumbing through The Flavor Bible (an indispensable culinary reference book that shows what ingredients go well with each other) and discovered that radicchio goes well with risotto, but my wife had already reached her monthly risotto quota. Walnuts and lemon juice were also listed as good matches, as was the suggestion of making a pesto with it. I thought that pancetta might add some flavor and change the texture up a bit.
A few web searchers later, I determined that outside of the person cited in the cookbook, no one has ever made radicchio pesto in the history of mankind, or if they have, it’s not on the internet, which is pretty much the same thing. Of course, that meant that this was the perfect recipe to start food-blogging on the old blog. With that, I give you my recently developed recipe for radicchio pesto, courtesy of The Flavor Bible and with inspiration from Mark Bittman’s recipe for basic basil pesto. Radicchio pesto, say hello to the internet.