Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower and Radicchio Salad with Pancetta! Sound fancy? It’s not and you MUST try it soon.
Is it still winter? Is it spring? That is a great question that I, of course, can’t answer. This winter salad will have you dreaming of spring in no time. Although the veggies make me think of winter, their vibrant colors scream spring.
My husband and I recently celebrated our anniversary at one of our favorite restaurants. We had a side dish that seriously took cauliflower to an entirely different level. I love vegetables but I rarely dream about them like I did this deliciously memorable cauliflower. I knew I could not recreate the restaurant dish exactly so I used their ideas and added my own flare.
This roasted Romanesco cauliflower and radicchio salad is has enough punch to satisfy almost any meat lover while still packing in quite a few vegetables.
Yes, I am still salivating and talking about cauliflower. Crazy, right? The toasted breadcrumbs on top of cauliflower were what made the restaurants dish so flavorful. The contrast of flavor and texture gave it that boost to compete with any meaty umami flavor. When creating my version, I knew that breadcrumbs had to stick around. The nuttiness of the roasted Romanesco cauliflower and crunch of raw radicchio are sprinkled with a mixture of toasted breadcrumbs, pancetta, and golden raisins.
Although the recipe seems fancy, it is simple to put together as long as you don’t burn the breadcrumbs. Seriously, don’t take your eyes off the pan. The crumbs will go from white to burnt black in no time with smoke filling your kitchen. Not this has happened to me or anything. Your best bet is to gently stir the crumbs often until you notice them browning and then quickly scoop them out of pan.
Romanesco cauliflower and radicchio are both vegetables that I had NEVER had in my kitchen let alone considered for a recipe. Thankfully, I have some Italian friends who introduced me to radicchio and it was love at first bite. I have been playing around with radicchio ever since and this is one of my favorites. Are you curious what my other favorite is? Radicchio and bacon. HEAVEN! We will get to that recipe soon.
So, are you thinking about taking a crack at this recipe? You definitely should! If you are gathering your ingredients and you can’t find Romanesco cauliflower, go with regular cauliflower instead. Also, there are a few different kinds of radicchio and any one will work well here. It all may sound like an unlikely mixture of tastes, but your mouth will think otherwise once you taste your first bite. Oh, and make sure you get a little of each ingredient in that first bite. Trust me!
Roasted Romanesco and Radicchio salad with pancetta
- 1 Romanesco cauliflower separated from core into 1” florets
- 1 ½ cup radicchio chopped into strips
- ¼ lb. pancetta chopped into ½” pieces
- 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 c fresh parsley coarsely chopped
- 1/3 c golden raisin
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1-2 tsp. lemon juice
- Garlic salt
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss the romesco in olive oil and spread on onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (This isn’t necessary but it makes clean up much easier)
- Bake cauliflower until tender and slightly browned. About 20 minutes.
- While Romanesco cauliflower bakes, cook pancetta. In dry pan over medium heat, add pancetta. Stir occasionally so pancetta doesn’t burn. Cook until most fat is rendered out and pancetta is golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove pancetta from pan leaving behind fat. Set pancetta aside.
- Turn heat to medium-low. Pour breadcrumbs into pan with pancetta fat. [Season crumbs with salt and pepper and garlic salt. I used a favorite seasoning of mine from Trader Joe’s that is a combination of salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley. ] Stir breadcrumbs frequently and watch to prevent burning. You want the breadcrumbs to absorb the fat from pancetta and turn a golden brown.
- Once breadcrumbs are golden brown and before they start smoking remove them from pan and put into small bowl. Stir in chopped parsley, golden raisins, and any extra seasoning if needed.
- In medium size mixing bowl, toss the roasted cauliflower, radicchio, and half of the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle a bit more olive oil on to salad along with a tsp. of lemon juice. Taste. Add more lemon juice or olive oil if needed.
- Put salad into serving bowl and sprinkle top with remaining breadcrumb mixture. Enjoy!