What you will love about this Radicchio and Pecorino Romano Salad and what makes it work is this simple equation:
BITTER + SALTY + SWEET
Bitter radicchio leaves + salty Pecorino Romano cheese + a slightly sweet dressing. It is a flavor bomb!
I developed a sweet-spot for bitter foods when I worked at high-end Italian restaurant in Santa Monica many years ago. Every night they would serve me a tricolore salad made with with arugula, radicchio and endive. At the time I had a less developed palate and would have preferred an overly dressed Caesar salad but after a year of eating this Italian-style salad, I grew to love and crave the bitter green and red lettuces.
Salads are a huge part of my diet, either as a main course for lunch or a side for dinner. I’m always looking for new ingredients, flavors & dressings to experiment with. This Radicchio and Romano Salad is a great way to add variety to your salad repertoire. The radicchio is such a beautiful color and bitter taste for the base of the salad. The Pecorino Romano Cheese is an Italian cheese made from 100% sheeps milk. It is a strong flavored cheese that is also salty, flakey, dense and grainy. The bitter radicchio holds up well to this robust cheese. The walnuts add a little umami and to bring it all together, I make a mildly sweet garlicky dressing.
Hope you will give this one a try.
For a complete Italian meal, serve this with one of these pasta dishes:Print
One of my favorite salads…
- 1 medium head of radicchio
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese or more
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Prepare Walnuts
Preheat oven to 300º. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Peel leaves off of the head of radicchio, tear in half if they are too large
(should be large bite-size pieces). Place in a large salad bowl.
- Prepare dressing
Mix first four ingredients together in a small bowl then whisk in the olive oil, salt and pepper.
Remember that the Pecorino cheese is fairly salty so do not use too much salt.
- Once the walnuts have cooled, add to salad along with the cheese. Pour half of the dressing onto the salad and toss. Taste a leaf to see if it needs additional dressing. Finish salad with a little more shredded cheese.
If you do not have Pecorino cheese feel free to substitute Parmesan Reggiano. You can also substitute other nuts such as hazelnuts, pine nuts or pecans.
I usually do not measure ingredients for this dressing. If you need to add more vinegar or oil definitely do so.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: NA
- Category: Salads
- Method: Simple
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Salad, Radicchio Salad, Radicchio, Pecorino Romano Cheese, Walnuts