White Bean Bruschetta with Grilled Radicchio Salad Recipe
White Bean Bruschetta with Grilled Radicchio Salad

by Mario Batali

There are few things I relish more during summer than dining al fresco in my backyard as the sun sets in the evening over Lake Michigan. A cold, inexpensive bottle of Friulano paired with my White Bean Bruschetta with Grilled Radicchio Salad makes it a perfect evening. This bruschetta was one of the most popular dishes I served at Pó, and I still love it.

The radicchio di Treviso used in this recipe has longer, narrower heads than the more familiar round, red Verona radicchio. This marvel from Treviso comes in two varieties, "precoce" and "tardivo," and both are most delicious when grilled in the prime of summer. Precoce, with its fleshy red leaves and white ribs, forms a compact bunch. This variety comes into season before tardivo, which is less aesthetically pleasing but packs a stronger flavor with bitter accents. When grilled, the radicchio leaves take on a softer flavor and the bitterness is muted.

Both precoce and tardivo now enjoy IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) status. The acronym identifies any product originating from a specific region whose quality, reputation and characteristics can be traced back to its geographical origin. This means that radicchio can only be sold as precoce and tardivo if they are produced around Treviso.

With that said, if you cannot find radicchio di Treviso, substitute it with any member of the chicory family: radicchio, frisée, escarole, Belgian endive or puntarelle to name a few. Red radicchio di Verona, more often found in your local market, is my preferred second choice to pair with white bean bruschetta. Radicchio Rosso di Verona was bred from Rosso di Treviso about 60 years ago, and is somewhat fuller shaped than its ancestor.

You can make the cannellini beans up to a day ahead; in fact, they retain even more flavor that way. Store them in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving under a sunset near you.

White Bean Bruschetta with Grilled Radicchio Salad Recipe

Makes 4 servings.

1 cup cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed if canned

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves cut into chiffonade (thin slivers)

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large heads radicchio di Treviso, halved lengthwise

Four 3/4-inch thick slices Italian peasant bread

White Bean Bruschetta with Grilled Radicchio Salad Recipe Steps

Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.

In a medium bowl, gently stir together the beans, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar, the red pepper flakes, basil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place the radicchio cut side down on the grill and cook, turning once, until wilted and lightly browned in spots, 2 to 3 minutes per side. If the radicchio starts to char, move it to a slightly cooler spot. While the radicchio cooks, grill the bread until lightly toasted on both sides. Set aside on a plate.

When the radicchio is done, transfer to a cutting board. Cut each half lengthwise in half again, slice off the cores, and separate the leaves. Toss the leaves with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the radicchio leaves on four plates, fanning them out like the fingers of a hand. Spoon the beans, including a generous amount of the juices, onto the grilled bread. Place the bruschetta in the center or just below the centers of the salads and serve.

(Mario Batali is the award-winning chef behind twenty-four restaurants including Eataly, DelPosto, and his flagship Greenwich Village enoteca, Babbo.)



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White Bean Bruschetta with Grilled Radicchio Salad Recipe

White Bean Bruschetta with Grilled Radicchio Salad Recipe, Italian Cuisine

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