A recent cooking session with Puerto Rican celebrity chef Wilo Benet at Mio restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C., prompted the addition of shredded corned beef to this summery entree. It doesn't take much of the salty protein to have a positive impact on the sweetness caused by lightly charring the radicchio and by the fruit. Be sure to ask for a chunk, not the typical thin slices, at the deli counter.
The radicchio can be done quickly on a gas grill as well; the corned beef can be omitted to make this a meatless meal. In that case, you might want to char the nectarines instead. We substituted queso fresco for the blue cheese in the vinaigrette; if you're serving this without the meat, a Cabrales or Stilton cheese might be the way to go.
Serve with warm focaccia.
Adapted from "Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes," by Brian Nicholson and Sarah Huck (Running Press, 2014).
Radicchio, Corned Beef and Nectarine Salad
Makes 4 servings
2 small heads radicchio
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
1 serrano chili pepper
2 ounces queso fresco
5-ounce chunk cooked, lean corned beef, preferably at room temperature
3 ripe nectarines
2 cups packed (4 ounces total) baby arugula leaves
Heat a grill pan or griddle over medium heat.
Meanwhile, discard any withered outside leaves from the radicchio. Cut the heads into quarters; don't cut out the cores, because they will help keep the radicchio together. Place the quarters in a mixing bowl; toss with 3 tablespoons of the oil and a small pinch of salt. Use tongs to transfer the radicchio quarters to the grill pan or griddle; cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until lightly charred but not blackened. Transfer to a cutting board to cool.
Cut the serrano pepper in half; discard the seeds, then mince the flesh and place in a separate mixing bowl. Squeeze a tablespoon or two of juice from the lime into the bowl. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Whisk until emulsified, then crumble in the cheese and stir gently to incorporate.
Cut the charred radicchio quarters into thin slices, discarding the cores. Transfer to the bowl with the dressing.
Cut away/discard any fat from the chunk of corned beef. Use your fingers to shred the meat; you'll achieve best results if you pull with (not against) the grain; add to the bowl with the dressing.
Cut the flesh away from the nectarines (no need to peel), then cut the fruit into 1/2-inch pieces. Add to the bowl with the dressing, along with the arugula. Toss gently to incorporate.
Divide among individual plates. Serve at room temperature.
Nutrition per serving: 350 calories, 11 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 29 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 750 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugar.