Grilled Radicchio with Mozzarella

 Grilled Radicchio


So, let’s talk about Michael Chiarello and how he totally rocks my socks. Because he’s awesome. A god among men, if you will. I want him to come live with me and Mr. Kitchenette and be our man-servant. Like that butler dude in the Batman movies, only younger, and with better food.

Seriously, I love his show. I tried TiVo-ing it for a while, but my DVR was so filled with M.Chiarello episodes that I almost missed Gossip Girl, which would have been an absolute travesty. Basically Michael has me drooling over his food every episode; usually I want to make every recipe he makes on his show. Unfortunately Michael no longer does television, so we’re stuck watching old episodes of Easy Entertaining. Instead he has a new restaurant, Bottega, in Napa that looks absolutely superb. Basically he’s living my dream life, and cooks everything I didn’t know I wanted to make.

Generally the things I make at home don’t include very expensive ingredients, but this is an exception. This is a special occasion dish for me – I only make it when radicchio is on sale, which is usually at the farmer’s market during the summer. I mean, really Whole Foods? $7 per pound of radicchio? Really?!



Grilled Radicchio - Radicchio fresh from the Farmer's market


That said, if you find radicchio at a reasonable price – I got two heads for $5 at the farmer’s market – this is a must-make dish. (And if you’ve got a garden, see if you can grow it! Then it would be free.) If you’ve never had radicchio before, just a warning – it’s bitter. Really bitter. But there is a solution! Soak it in ice water, just like you do with red onions. The recipe calls for a soak of 1 hour, but I have been known to do a taste test after 1 hour and let the radicchio sit for a while longer if it’s particularly unpalatable that day.

This is one of those works-with-everything marinades, my favorite kind. The sweetness from the balsamic, the fruitiness of the olive oil, contrasted with the bite of the radicchio. (We’ll add this to the list of foods I love that use balsamic vinegar – so far, we’re up to five.) And don’t be afraid to char the edges of the radicchio a little – the crunchy bits are always the best part!


Grilled Radicchio with Mozzarella

Adapted from Michael Chiarello

Serves 8 as a side dish


4 heads radicchio
12 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 pound mozzarella, cut into 16 pieces
salt and fresh ground pepper

Peel the outermost 1-2 layers of the radicchio head away, as these leaves are somewhat tough. Quarter each head of radicchio, for a total of 16 radicchio quarters. Trim off any dark parts of the stem, but leave the stem intact so that the quarters stay together. Submerge the quarters in ice water, and place a plate on top of the radicchio such that it is entirely submerged.


Grilled Radicchio - Quartered Radicchio


In a medium bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients, except for the mozzarella.

Prepare a hot grill, or heat a pan over medium-high heat on the stove.


Grilled Radicchio - Slicing Mozzarella


Drain the radicchio and place on paper towels (or dish towels if you’re aiming for a greener house like I am) to absorb the water. Stuff each radicchio with 1 piece of mozzarella (i.e. place cheese between the leaves of the radicchio) and dunk in the bowl of marinade, making sure to get the marinade between the leaves of the radicchio. Once all pieces of radicchio are stuffed and in the marinade, season generously with salt and pepper. At this point, the radicchio can be refridgerated until you would like to cook them.

Grill the radicchio until the edges are crispy, but the insides are still somewhat raw – about 7-8 minutes. The oil mixture may cause the flame to flare up, so this is best accomplished using tongs.

Serve with the leftover marinade poured overtop.



Which chef do you love? 1, 2, 3… go.



Playing today in the Kitchenette:  The Drums / Let’s Go Surfing – Such a happy little song!


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5 thoughts on “Grilled Radicchio with Mozzarella

  1. What do you mean by “stuffing” the radicchio? Do you pull apart the leaves and place a slice of cheese inside? By the way, that is a really happy song! I like it!

  2. Pingback: Lentils and Farro with Caramelized Onions « The Kitchenette

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