Bitter radicchio and creamy mash lifted by a vibrant spring salsa verde
The creamy mash is a perfect foil for the bitterness of the radicchio and the salsa verde lifts everything—no longer comfort food but a meal that brings the promise of spring. I’ve left the traditional anchovies out of the salsa verde in order to make this dish vegan, but you can pop a couple into the mix if you’d like.
2 large radicchio (a firm-hearted variety like Treviso Precoce, Chioggia or Verona)
660g jar chickpeas (540g drained weight)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tsp capers
A small bunch of mint
A small bunch of parsley
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
Set a griddle pan over a high heat and leave it to get smoking hot. Cut the radicchio into quarters, leaving the core in to hold everything together. Brush the cut edges with olive oil and season heavily with salt and pepper.
Lay the radicchio wedges on the griddle pan and fry over a high heat for 5 mins on each cut side. You want the wedges blackened and scarred with char lines. You may need to fry them in batches, in which case pop the cooked wedges in a warm oven while you finish the rest.
While the radicchio is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish. Drain the chickpeas and whizz in a food processor until mashed but not completely smooth. Use a potato masher instead if you prefer. Warm through in a saucepan over a low heat. Depending on the brand, add a little salt if needed.
For the salsa verde, blitz the garlic, capers, mint and parsley leaves in a food processor with the olive oil and vinegar and a pinch of salt. Check the seasoning and adjust as you like. I sometimes find a sprinkle of sugar or honey balances out the flavours, depending on how punchy the capers are.
To assemble the dish, dollop the chickpea mash onto a large serving plate. Sit the radicchio wedges on top and drizzle with salsa verde.