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Radicchio and rocket salad (Insalata di radicchio e rughetta)
Radicchio, like other bitter leaves such as Belgian endive, dandelions, cicoria and treviso, becomes extra special when its bitterness is balanced with other tastes – like the sweetness of balsamic vinegar, the saltiness of Parmesan, or the crunchy pepperiness of rocket. Sometimes in life you have one particular thing which, on its own, is nothing, yet mix it up in the right combination and somehow it becomes genius – it’s like this with recipes, and especially this one.
Get yourself a large bowl and, for each person, toss together a handful of rocket with a small handful of grated Parmesan cheese and a quarter of a radicchio, finely sliced. Dress this with a lug of balsamic vinegar, three times as much extra virgin olive oil, and a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix carefully, grate over a little extra Parmesan, and eat straight away. You can vary it by adding things like toasted pine nuts, roasted red onions or crispy bacon.