Thursday, February 24, 2011

Grilled Escarole and Radicchio

Grilled greens seem to be popping up everywhere this winter.  So, I decided to give it a go myself.  They make an exciting and healthy side dish or can even take center stage as a main dish.  The hot vinegar bath is an idea I got from a recipe by April Bloomfield, one of my favorite chefs, on one of my favorite websites.  The recipe is simple and grilling the greens gives a great flavor. I decided to add radicchio, not only for the added health benefits, but for its flavor, texture and color. I used radicchio trevisano rather than regular radicchio because it has a more structured leaf, similar to endive, and grills nicely.  Mostly, I really enjoy the purple color so if you only have regular radicchio it will work just as well- just be sure not to over grill it.

Grilled Escarole and Radicchio with Parmesan and Sunflower Seeds

1 head of endive
1 head of Radicchio Trevisano
2 cups of white vinegar
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese
Sunflower Seeds

Cut the bottoms off the escarole and radicchio, separate the leaves and rinse well.  Remove additional stems and place them in separate bowls.  Boil 2 cups of vinegar and pour one cup over each bowl.  Toss the leaves in each bowl until they wilt slightly then pour off the excess vinegar.  Heat a grill pan over medium heat.  Add the leaves to the grill pan and allow them to sear on both sides for a few seconds.  Remove from the grill pan.  Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt to taste, parmesan cheese and sunflower seeds.  Serve and enjoy!

What makes this bite better?
Escarole and radicchio are both power house vegetables that are not common in most people's diets.  Variety itself is a benefit!  In addition, escarole is high in Vitamins A, C and K and radicchio is packed with antioxidants and essential minerals like magnesium.  If you are like me, you often pass right over these veggies while shopping because you have no idea what to do with them.  This is a great way to try new foods and gain the health benefits!  Sunflower seeds are high in Vitamin E and B as well as polyunsaturated oils to keep you fuller longer and help lower cholesterol.  I sprinkle these little guys on a dish whenever I get the chance to add texture and the health benefits!

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