A simple side dish for your Christmas menus: balsamic caramelized radicchio with grapes & gorgonzola. The radicchio is pan-seared in olive oil then roasted with red onions and balsamic vinegar until tender and caramelized. It gets topped with jammy grapes, tangy gorgonzola cheese, and a drizzle of honey. Something a little different than a traditional side dish, that’s just as tasty as it is beautiful!
balsamic caramelized radicchio – the details
Radicchio is one of my favorite unlikely holiday ingredients to work with, simply because of its festive ruby color (see this Christmas Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette). If you’re unfamiliar with radicchio, it’s a type of chicory often used in Italian cooking.
I drew inspiration from Italy to pick out the other main ingredients for this dish – grapes, balsamic vinegar, and gorgonzola. It all comes together in a really delicious way, with fairly minimal effort.
The grapes are cooked in a saucepan until soft and jammy…with balsamic, honey, and rosemary adding a sweet, warming flavor. The radicchio gets cut into wedges before searing in a very hot skillet (key for a caramelized exterior). After just a couple of minutes, they’re flipped and topped with red onions and balsamic before roasting in the oven until tender.
The sweet grapes and tangy vinegar work really well to balance out the radicchio, which has a slightly bitter/spicy taste. The creamy gorgonzola is such a delicious addition over top. You could even add some toasted walnuts or pistachios for a little crunch.
Drizzle it all with honey and you’ve got a really special side dish to serve alongside any holiday meal. Enjoy!Print
Balsamic Caramelized Radicchio with Grapes & Gorgonzola
wedges of radicchio pan-seared and roasted until caramelized with red onions and balsamic, topped with slow-cooked grapes and gorgonzola cheese
- ¾ lb stemmed, seedless grapes
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey, plus more for drizzling
- 1 sprig rosemary
- kosher salt
- 1 lb radicchio (approximately 2 medium heads)
- olive oil
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 oz gorgonzola cheese, thinly sliced
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Combine the grapes, ¼ cup of the balsamic vinegar, honey, rosemary, and a pinch of salt in a 2qt saucepan over high heat. Once the mixture is bubbling, continue to cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the saucepan with a lid, leaving a slight crack for steam to escape. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and reduce the heat to low. Finish cooking for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the grapes are soft and jammy.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut each head of radicchio into 4 wedges, leaving the root intact. Heat a 12” cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom. Once the oil is very hot, place the radicchio into the skillet.
- Cook for about 2 minutes until browned on one side. Flip the radicchio over and sprinkle in the red onion slices. Drizzle a little more olive oil, the remaining ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt over top. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until tender and caramelized.
- Arrange the radicchio and red onions onto a platter. Spoon the grapes over top. Finish with the gorgonzola, freshly cracked black pepper, and a drizzle of honey.