The Meatwave

Charred Radicchio With Balsamic Vinegar and Bacon

Charred Radicchio With Balsamic Vinegar and Bacon View Recipe

Adam Perry Lang's books are some of my favorite to flip through when I'm in need of inspiration. The photos are beautiful and recipes show a skill of building flavor and an attention to detail that makes them unique among grilling cookbooks. As much as I'm quick to shower praise on these books, the truth is I actually rarely cook from them. The same factors that make the recipes so inspirational are also a hinderance to actually making them attractive to tackle—extended ingredient lists, long processes, and uncommon techniques. So you'll find bits and pieces of influence from Lang in my recipes, but almost no recipes done explicitly step-by-step. One exception are these charred radicchio with balsamic vinegar and bacon, which is one of the more straightforward recipes from Charred and Scruffed. Lack of complexity is by no means an indicator that these are any lesser of a dish—in fact, they're an incredible combination of textures and flavors.

Charred Raddichio with Balsamic and Bacon

I actually surprised myself that this was the one recipe I decided to take on because I often can't stand radicchio. Unless their mixed into a salad in small proportions, bitter leaves are not for me. That makes the prospect of a side that consists mainly of radicchio alone somewhat unpalatable. I did know from experience though that grilling this chicory lessons its bitter bite, plus the addition of bacon was something I could get behind, so I gave it a go.

Charred Raddichio with Balsamic and Bacon

As with most of Adam Perry Lang's recipes, this one continually built layers of flavor throughout the entire process. It's not merely enough to wrap radicchio with bacon and give it a little oil and seasoning, but instead this side began with a vinaigrette that's delicious in its own right. Sherry vinegar, oil, shallots, red pepper flakes, garlic, parsley, oregano, and thyme were whisked together to make this herbal and tangy sauce.

Charred Raddichio with Balsamic and Bacon

Then each quartered piece of radicchio was tossed in the vinaigrette, letting the dressing build up on the surface and seep into the cracks of space between the leaves.

Charred Raddichio with Balsamic and Bacon

Afterwards each radicchio was wrapped in a slice of bacon around its center, securing the leaves together as well as adding all the delicious smoky and saltiness this cured pork belly is known for.

Charred Raddichio with Balsamic and Bacon

The dressed and wrapped radicchio were then placed over a hot fire to cook. The rendering fat of the bacon hit the coals and created small flare-up that singed the edges of the radicchio. By the time the bacon had browned, the radicchio had become slightly soft with brittle edges whose fragile crack was an audible invitation for the mouth to start salivating.

Charred Raddichio with Balsamic and Bacon

The slightly bitter radicchio paired nicely with the herbal vinaigrette that had a garlicky bite. The bacon added a saltiness and substantialness, while a finishing drizzle of balsamic vinegar gave the dish a tart tang. I definitely got the defining build up of flavors of an Adam Perry Lang recipe with comparatively less work than many others in the book, which made these a pretty impressive side that can easily be put together to accompany a main dish.

Print Recipe

Charred Radicchio With Balsamic Vinegar and Bacon

  • Yield 8 servings
  • Prep 20 Minutes
  • Cook 10 Minutes
  • Total 30 Minutes


  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste (1 medium clove garlic mashed with a pinch of salt)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 heads radicchio, quartered and core trimmed
  • 16 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


  1. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, 2 tablespoons oil, shallots, red pepper flakes, garlic paste, parsley oregano, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place radicchio quarters in a large bowl and drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat lightly, tossing gently
  3. Wrap each radicchio quarter in bacon, trimming excess bacon if necessary.
  4. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place radicchio quarters on grill and cook until bacon and leaf edges crisp all over, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer radicchio quarters to a platter. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil; sprinkle with chives, and serve.

Adapted from Charred and Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang.

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