Tuesday, January 15, 2013
You know how everyone is always writing recipes that use up leftover bits of cheese? Like this delicious one from Smitten Kitchen, for instance. What I want to know is why doesn’t anyone ever address the even more pressing issue of half-forgotten, unloved, leftover bits of dried out salami and random bits of cured meats.
Am I the only one with this problem? You know. Nubs of boar sausage. Slightly dried chunks of pancetta. A piece of duck prosciutto you were saving for a special occasion that never came.
I decided to use these odds and ends and adapt them to a recipe that my friend Judy posted a few weeks ago for radicchio roses. Actually, I adapted the recipe instead of following it faithfully mostly because I had forgotten to buy one of the key ingredients.
While I’d picked up a couple of gorgeous heads of radicchio at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, somehow I forgot to buy some sausage.
Which left me with no porky stuffing. Until I remembered those nubs.
They all went into my mini chopper, which has an incredibly strong motor. Within a minute my various fatty bits were looking pretty similar to the sausage Judy’s recipe had originally called for.
WARNING: at this point you may be tempted to just eat all that lovely, pink, salty, fatty salami mush schmeared on a piece of bread. Resist.
While I was filling my basket at the market, I couldn’t quite remember which kind of radicchio Judy's recipe called for. So I got a head of very loose radicchio di Treviso, as well as the tighter radicchio di Chioggia. They both worked perfectly.
Radicchio, when cooked, is a marvelous thing. All bitterness disappears, and the edges of the leafs get brown and crispy and extra sweet. Which is the perfect foil for all that pork.
I think using the raw sausage called for in the original recipe probably results in a softer consistency. But me? There’s nothing I like better than crunchy bits of browned and crisped cured meats.
Take that, leftover pork nubs.
baked radicchio with cured pork
2 heads of radicchio
130 Grams / 1/4 pound of left over cured pork*
Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 180c/350f
Lightly oil a baking sheet
Place all the cured meats, roughly chopped, in a food processor. Chop until it looks like ground meat.
If you are using the loose leafed kind of radicchio, then just rinse and dry well, keeping the head in tact. Then stuff bits of sausage in between the leaves. If you are using the tighter Chioggia radicchio, cut in quarters, through the stem, keeping that part in tact. Lay the pieces on the tray and gently stuff bits of sausage between the leaves.
About the stuffing: Just stick the stuff in, here and there. Think of the pork as more of a condiment than the main course.
Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake for about a half hour. The radicchio should be fully cooked, and the edges of the leaves well browned.
*of course you can make this with anything. I used a mix of boar sausage, pancetta, Calabrian spicy salami and a small bit of fennel sausage from Tuscany (I think that’s where it came from.....)