Radicchio Caesar

My last trip to Portland, OR was another culinary delight, and one favorite was the selection of salads at Nostrana and her sister restaurant, Oven and Shaker. The Dinosaur Kale salad at O&S was superb, but the Nostrana Salad, on offer at both restaurants, was absolutely killer. It was just a very rich radicchio Caesar, but it’s unforgettable. Here’s my best shot at an homage.

Radicchio Caesar

Note: all three components can be prepared a day in advance and combined (step 4) just before serving.

1 large head of Radicchio
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white wine
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or less)
1 clove garlic, minced
5 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
3 cups focaccia, cut to 1″ cubes
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1. Slice the Radicchio and soak for 2 hours in ice water (it crisps the leaves and leeches out the bitterness).
2. In a mason jar or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, combine vinegar, wine, mayo, yolk, garlic, anchovy, and sugar. Shake vigorously until emulsified, season with salt and pepper and shake again before serving.
3. Preheat oven to 400F. Toast bread on a baking sheet on the center rack until golden on all sides, 6-8 minutes. While toasting, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the rosemary and sage and saute until the herbs are fragrant, about 2 minutes. In a large bowl, pour the butter mixture over the bread and toss to coat. Store in an airtight container at room temperature if preparing ahead.
4. Toss radicchio with dressing, grate a generous amount of cheese into the salad and top with croutons.

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