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Fresh Right Now: Radicchio

Soak fresh radicchio leaves in ice water for 30 minutes to diminish some of the bitter flavor. Drain, pat dry, and use the leaves in salad.

Red- and white-veined radicchio, like its chicory relatives endive and frisée, is loved and sometimes feared for its bitter edge. The intensity of that bitterness can be mediated by the cook. Tossed into a salad, radicchio is bright and assertive. Sautéed, grilled, or baked, its sharp character mellows.

In our recipe, roasted radicchio wedges pair with tangy vinegar, salty Gorgonzola cheese, and sweet pears for a stunning side to pair with roast chicken or grilled steaks—a lesson in balancing the bitter. At the market, you'll find baseball-shaped Chioggia or elongated Treviso varieties; select firm heads with crisp leaves.

Roasted Balsamic Radicchio and Pears | Photo: Whitney Ott

ROASTED BALSAMIC RADICCHIO AND PEARS Hands-on: 20 min. Total: 65 min.

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper 2 small heads radicchio, cored and cut into quarters Cooking spray 2 Bosc pears, cored and each cut into 6 wedges 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 1 ounce Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until well blended. Add radicchio; toss gently to coat and allow mixture to seep between leaves. Place radicchio wedges, cut sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; drizzle with any remaining vinegar mixture. Place pear wedges, cut sides down, on another baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Roast pears and radicchio at 400° for 12 minutes. Turn radicchio and pears over; roast an additional 12 minutes or until pears are golden and radicchio is browned. Place 2 radicchio wedges and 3 pear wedges on each of 4 plates, and sprinkle evenly with salt. Top radicchio evenly with cheese; serve immediately.

SERVES 4 CALORIES 148; FAT 9.1g (sat 2.4g, mono 5g, poly 1g); PROTEIN 2g; CARB 16g; FIBER 3g; CHOL 6mg; IRON Omg; SODIUM 222mg; CALC 51mg