Fall Salad Recipe: Radicchio Salad with Green Olives & Parmesan

Recipes from The Kitchn

There are salads for a crowd, and salads that kids adore. There are colorful slaws, and playful mescluns, salads crunchy and light. But then there are the distinctly grownup salads, with heightened and complicated flavors. This is one of those. It has just five ingredients, but together they make a stunningly unusual composition of bitter, sweet, and salty-savory. Ready? This is fall salad, all dressed up and glamorous.

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I can take zero credit for this recipe. I ate a salad very much like this last week at Till Dynamic Fare, a biodynamically-focused restaurant here in Columbus. The owner and chef has a way with vegetables and a flair for unusual combinations that somehow work out just right. We were trying to decide on a salad, and when we mentioned this one — an odd combo of radicchio and olives — the server's eyelids fluttered and she began breathing hard. We took the hint.

When the salad appeared, it was studded with green olives, smashed so that their edges echoed the ruffled curl of the radicchio. The leaves were draped in a sweet balsamic dressing that both heightened and balanced the radicchio's bitterness. Manchego cheese and the meaty, mild olives added savor. It was the most glamorous grownup salad I've ever eaten, and my husband and I tussled over the final bites.

And yet the salad itself is so simple — just a handful of ingredients. Here it is, for your own grownup enjoyment. The olives should be Castelvetrano olives, which are lighter and not so pungent. Use the sweetest, richest balsamic you can for the dressing, as it should be rather sweet. If you don't have great balsamic, no worries — add a drizzle of honey to boost the sweetness. On the cheese: Any savory hard white cheese should work well. The restaurant used Manchego; I've made this with Parmesan.

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Radicchio Salad with Green Olives & Parmesan

Inspired by Till Dynamic Fare. Serves 4.

1 small head red radicchio
1 cup Castelvetrano olives, brine reserved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey, optional
About 2 ounces Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper

Core the radicchio and discard any browned outer leaves. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a large bowl.

Pit the olives and cut each one in half lengthwise. Smash each lightly with the flat of a knife, to flatten. Toss the olives with the radicchio, massaging the leaves lightly with your hands.

Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and 1 tablespoon olive brine. Taste for sweetness, and add a drizzle or more of honey if desired. Toss the dressing with the radicchio.

Use a vegetable peeler to create large, thick flakes of cheese and toss with the salad, along with salt and pepper to taste. Serve within an hour, garnished with additional cheese if desired.

Related: Beets, Cabbage, Apples: 8 Vibrant Fall Salads

(Image: Faith Durand)

Per serving, based on 2 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
236
Fat
20 g (30.8%)
Saturated
2.7 g (13.7%)
Carbs
15.7 g (5.2%)
Fiber
2.3 g (9.3%)
Sugars
10.1 g
Protein
1.2 g (2.4%)
Sodium
452.8 mg (18.9%)

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Main, Autumn, Quick, Recipe, Salad

Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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