Radicchio and Black Ham Gratin

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Serves: 2
  • Level: easy

‘…the radicchio is a flavour worth having a go with… and try not to lick the platter clean at the table!’

Pete
‘Smoked ham and cream sauce, what a magic combination…’

What you need

200g black smoked ham (or 100g. pancetta, or speck, or 200g smoked bacon)

1 large head of radicchio (or trevise, or chicory)

1 glove of garlic grated

250ml chicken stock

125ml white wine

125ml whole milk

1tbs cornflour

125ml cream cheese

200g tallegio (or brie or Camembert or medium strength cheddar)

100g gruyere or Parmesan (or cheddar) grated

2 bay leaves

1 tbs fresh thyme

Salt, pepper and lemon to season.



Dad's Recipe Tales

Raddichio – four for a pound.

Mrs WDC and I are walking around Kingston Market on Saturday evening and the stall-holders are packing-up. There are a few bits and pieces still on display, as well as the remnants of what must have been mountains of avocados.

I’m entranced by the way avocados are sold in the market – the traders clearly get a very good price for a job-lot of avocados – but for such a delicate fruit – already ripe – sold in large volumes, the chances of damage is fairly high. Yet the cut samples look perfectly usable – the traders must have the Midas touch…

Therefore, it was with careful consideration that I examined an unsold crate of radicchio. The radicchio was in better condition than one might expect after a long hot day at market. ‘Four for a pound’, came a call. Well, how about that. It’s normally one for four pounds. I bought four and was further rewarded with eight enormous flat portobello mushrooms for free.

WDC is not about food for free. But it is about being as economic and sustainable as possible. It’s also about serendipity. If I happen to be at the market at the end of the day I will keep an eye out for a bargain. Okay, you may end-up with a shopping bag full of huge black mushrooms and several pounds of radicchio. But that’s where the fun begins…

How Dad Cooked It

Radicchio is part of the chicory family – endive, frisee etc. Each has a characteristic bitter taste which is accentuated when cooked – and may not be to everyone’s taste. But I love it and fortunately, so do the family. Here the radicchio is made into a gratin using a tallegio cheese sauce. The fruity tang of the cheese balances the bitter smoky flavours of the radicchio and ham. Use other smoked hams or bacon. Use any cheese, a dolcelatte would be interesting.

  1. Preheat oven to 200C gas 6.
  2. In a large sauce pan, boil the wine briefly to evaporate the alcohol.
  3. Put the cornflour in a small mug and mix with little of the stock to make a paste. Add more stock to make half a mug and mix to a thin solution. Pour the stock into the pan with the wine and add the milk and the cornflour solution.
  4. Add the garlic and herbs and stir with a wooden stirrer. Heat until the sauce thickens. Simmer on very low heat for 10 minutes.
  5. Carefully cut the rind from the taleggio and cut into chunks. Add the taleggio and cream cheese to the sauce – reduce the heat and stir gently until the cheese has melted.
  6. Cut the radicchio into four segments, lengthwise. Cut through to hold leaves intact with each segment. Wrap with the ham of choice and place the pieces in a baking dish.
  7. Pour over the cheese sauce and cover with grated cheese.
  8. Heat in oven for about half an hour. The radicchio should be tender when tested with the tip of a knife and the sauce should be bubbling and golden brown.

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