[ Photographs: Joshua Bousel ]

All the gift giving events in my year—Christmas, Chanukah, and my birthday—happen around the same time. I've been using them as a way to expand my cookbook library, but the amount is usually overwhelming and I never get the chance to sit down and take the proper time with any one individually. I'm trying to force myself to do that now with Adam Perry Lang's Charred and Scruffed, a beautiful book with very unique recipes and grilling techniques.

The first recipe to tackle: this charred radicchio with balsamic and bacon.

It's an attractive starting point because it's more simple and direct than most recipes in the book, which often call for numerous sauces and/or more advance grilling techniques like cooking directly on the coals. 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.

Slightly bitter radicchio is paired with an herbal vinaigrette that has a garlicky bite. Bacon adds saltiness and substantialness, while a finishing drizzle of balsamic gives a tart tang. You get the defining build up of flavors of an Adam Perry Lang recipe with comparatively less work than most others, which make these a pretty impressive side that can easily be made to accompany a main.

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.


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