Pickled radicchio is a perfect way to preserve and enjoy for weeks. Radicchio (ra-DEEK-ee-o) on its own has a bold and bitter taste but throw it in a hot bath of vinegar and that boldness subsides. It ends up with a sweet and sour taste. When the radicchio leaves hit the vinegar, they change a glorious shade of crimson. This was a highlight for me. It got me thinking about an appetizer I made years ago, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. Omit the prosciutto and use the pickled radicchio leaves; a delicious appetizer for anyone wanting to cut back on their meat intake.
With more entertaining between now and NYE, this dish is ready for assembly especially when you have unexpected company pop by. Or, chop up the leaves and toss in a salad or fresh pasta.
1 1/2 cups white balsamic vinegar
4 juniper berries
20 radicchio leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
20 Italian breadsticks
20 thin slices of salami (can also use prosciutto)
In a saucepan, bring the balsamic vinegar and juniper berries to a boil over medium heat. When the liquid is bubbling, submerge the radicchio leaves and let boil for 5 minutes or until leaves become soft. Remove pickling mixture from heat. Using tongs, take out the radicchio and gently shake off any excess liquid.
In an airtight container, add the olive oil. Place the pickled leaves in olive oil and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Drain the leaves of any excess oil before using. Starting at the top of each breadstick, wrap with a piece of salami or prosciutto, topped by a radicchio leaf. Repeat for all remaining breadsticks.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: You may need to cut each leaf in half if too large when wrapping around each breadstick. Enjoy!