While this isn’t the first recipe to pair bitter radicchio with sweet pears and balsamic vinegar, this one is a bit different in that it doesn’t rely on cheese to balance the flavors. We find that a good char on everything helps mellow the radicchio and bring out the sweetness in the pears. Add a little thyme and a drizzle of good aged balsamic vinegar and you’ve got a beautiful and light addition to your holiday table.
1. Remove any wilted outer leaves of the radicchio, cut each head in half, then cut each half into 3 equal wedges, leaving most of the core on so the pieces remain intact.
2. Cut the pears into quarters and remove the cores, leaving the skin on.
3. Toss the pears and radicchio wedges in a bowl with the thyme leaves, olive oil, and a good amount of salt and pepper (be sure to get the seasoning in between some of the radicchio leaves).
4. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the radicchio slices and cook on the first side for about 3 minutes, or until nicely charred.
5. Flip the radicchio and add the pear slices to the pan (you can do this in batches if your pan is too small). Grill the pear slices for 1 to 2 minutes on each cut side, until nicely charred (these should cook in the same time it takes to grill the second side of the radicchio).
6. Transfer everything from the grill to a platter, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with a little sea salt and some cracked black pepper.
Originally featured in A Holiday Meal, Three Ways: Allergen-Free, Kid-Friendly, and Dinner for Two