This was one of those meals where the main dish was a miserable failure and the sides stood victorious. I thought I was whipping up some tasty honey-garlic pork chops that would make it feel like barbeque season, but they ended up tasteless and overcooked. Thankfully, the sides saved the meal. We had Ren’s sweet potato fries and this radicchio and arugula salad that I found in the February Bon Appetit. James found it too bitter, but I quite liked it. I’m a bit of an arugula nut though, so bitter-green-haters be warned.
This is not a quick, throw-together salad, but it’s not all that difficult and it looks impressive. The bulk of the salad is bitter, topped with a sweet pepper dressing to balance it out. I changed the proportions to suit what I had in the house – the recipe below includes my adjustments. Pair with yam fries and a properly cooked pork chop for a winning combination.
makes 4 good-sized portions
1 red bell pepper
4 T olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1-2 T drained capers
4 t minced shallot
1/2 t sugar
3 cups baby arugula
1 head radicchio, roughly chopped
1. Pop the whole pepper into a 400F oven until the skin starts to blister, crack and turn black in some spots. Check it every few minutes and flip it over as needed. Once it’s done, let it cool before peeling the skin and removing the stem and seeds.
2. Put the pepper in a food processor or blender with 1 T olive oil and blend until smooth.
3. Whisk the blended pepper with the remaining olive oil, vinegar, capers, shallot and sugar. Taste and adjust as needed – you may want more sugar or a little salt to help with the bitterness of the vegetables.
The dressing can be made a day ahead – store in the fridge in a covered container. Bring to room temperature before tossing with the salad.
4. Toss the arugula and radicchio with the dressing and serve.