Saturday, 2 February 2013

Why Be Bitter?

Insalata di Radicchio, Dente di Leone e Mandarino
Dandelion, Radicchio & Mandarin Orange Salad

Being Sicilian, I have a liking of all things bitter-tasting by default- I guess it is a genetic thing! Many people have a problem with radicchio's slightly bitter taste, or that of endives or broccoli rabe... which is a shame because they are missing out on a lot of healthy goodness!

But of course, you can always counter-point the flavor with something sweeter or milder- a cheese or a fruit for example. In any case, it is always the balancing act between different ingredients that makes meals come to life and taste complex and special. I wouldn't all this salad complex by any means... but it sure was delicious! 

The dandelion greens and the radicchio have a very similar taste- but whilst the radicchio is good to go when you buy it- the dandelion can sometimes need plenty of washing! I rinsed mine 2-3 times in lukewarm salted water- this also reduces the bitterness- so there you go- it is already starting to taste better!

Obviously there is no recipe here- the ingredients are simply arranged on a platter and served. But I did drizzle the salad with olive oil and a little lemon juice, sprinkle it with salt and pepper and drizzle it with honey- just a light dressing so that all of the natural flavors come out and do combat together at there full strength- it would have been such a shame to overpower the great taste by using a heavy dressing.

The balancing act become complete when you eat the three ingredients together- the bitter greens and the sweet and refreshing mandarin orange- what more could you want for an eye-catching and inviting appetizer? This will tantalize, tease, kick-start and tune-up your taste buds in preparation for a great meal... So I hope you have something wonderful in mind! 

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