Unlike Summer produce that you can toss into a salad, Winter veggies often require roasting, which has the added benefit of warming up your house. This week, I took another page from Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book to prepare roasted radicchio sandwiches with a seasonal side of Brussels sprouts.
Though I'm not usually partial to open-faced sandwiches, this Italian-inspired recipe won me over with a surprising combination of ingredients and comforting, wintry flavors. The punchy gorgonzola and slightly bitter radicchio get a sweet assist from honey and candied walnuts. You can make the walnuts from scratch if you want, though I used store-bought candied pecans. For more details on the recipe and to see how I made it, read more.
It's not the easiest sandwich to eat, but it would be nearly impossible without a knife and fork, so the open-faced format makes sense. Plus, the presentation according to Silverton's directions is stunning. This sandwich is highly sophisticated in flavor and appearance yet relatively easy to make. I'd certainly make it again.
1 medium head radicchio (about 10 ounces) cut in half through the core
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 slices walnut, white, or whole-wheat sourdough bread
8 ounces gorgonzola dolce*
Approximately 3 tablespoons honey, preferably buckwheat or chestnut
1 cup candied spiced walnuts, coarsely chopped, plus 8 candied walnut halves**
Approximately 1 bunch chives, minced
- For the radicchio: Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut each radicchio half into 5 wedges. In a cast-iron or other ovenproof 10-inch skillet, combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 teaspoons of the vinegar. Arrange the wedges of radicchio in the skillet in a concentric circle. Drizzle the remaining olive oil and vinegar over the radicchio and sprinkle over the salt.
- Cover with foil and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil to allow the steam to escape.
- Turn the wedges of radicchio over, and on the stovetop over medium heat, cook the radicchio about 3-5 minutes to caramelize slightly, being careful not to burn it.
- To make the sandwiches: Grill the bread or toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Place the slices on serving plates.
- Spread an uneven layer of the gorgonzola over each slice of bread, and spoon about 2 teaspoons of honey over the cheese.
- Scatter about a 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts (or pecans) over each, and evenly distribute the radicchio, leaving a border of the gorgonzola around the edge. Sprinkle the sandwiches with chives, and place 2 candied walnut (or pecan) halves overlapping in the center of each.
*I used about half the amount of gorgonzola suggested.
**Silverton's book includes a recipe to make your own candied spiced walnuts, but I used store-bought candied pecans instead.
- Sandwiches, Main Dishes