Saturday, February 02, 2008
The next stop is Radicchio
I took the tube to the grocers to buy more radicchio. The grand lady wasn’t there. This time we picked out the Treviso and ditched any thoughts of "accents".
On the way home on the underground we approached Oxford Circus station. The spaced out voice of Miss London Underground came over the tannoy."The next stop is Ealing Broadway." For those of you who are lucky enough not to have become familiar with the London Tube Map, Ealing Broadway and Oxford Circus are many miles apart. I looked up and laughed. Miss Striped Suit sitting next to me, glanced up with a blank face. Noone else smiled;the entire carriage were clearly the victims of a mass humour-lobotomy. No one reacts normally on the underground. The tannoy could tell them they were about to be joined by a regiment of zombies and there would be no reaction. In fact thinking back, maybe they were zombies. I stopped smiling and stared at my radicchio.
Last year Freddie enjoyed chicory gratin so we adapted the recipe to suit its redheaded cousin. Braised in chicken stock and then enveloped in a cheese sauce, the radicchio was tamed. The bitterness didn’t seem quite so obvious. Freddie thought it was delicious which might have been more to do with the fact that he was about to watch a crucial football match on the television. On the other hand, his plate was empty and he gave this radicchio recipe 9 out of 10.
2 heads of radicchio
300 mls of vegetable or chicken stock
100g mature cheddar cheese, grated
1 and a half tablespoons of plain flour
175 ml milk
1 and a half tablespoons of butter
40g coarse breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to season
Trim the stems and quarter the radicchio. Pour the stock in a large frying pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat. Add the radicchio and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. Drain the stock away into a measuring jug. Take out the radicchio and lay them out in a deep baking tray. Preheat the oven to 180C.
In another pan on a low heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour so it forms a paste. Add the milk, 75ml of the reserved stock and bring it to the boil, whisking all the time. Add the grated cheese, whisk the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the radicchio and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Put in the preheated oven with a foil lid. Bake for 25 minutes. For the last 10 minutes of cooking time, remove the foil lid so that the breadcrumbs crisp up.
Because you can have too much of a good thing we are moving on, this time to rhubarb. Because it is I am reliably informed not a fruit but a vegetable.