Why It Works
- The sweet-sour cherry sauce is jammy and fruity, with enough of a deep vinegar tang to stand up to all that sweetness.
- Radicchio grows even more bitter on the grill as it chars and lightly wilts, resulting in an intense flavor that requires an equally intense sauce.
A bold marriage of sweet, sour, and bitter defines this grilled radicchio side dish. Charred and wilted, the radicchio is brought back to life by a vivid sweet-and-sour cherry sauce, making it the perfect pairing for a sizzling and fatty grilled steak. Keep in mind, though, that this side dish is truly a powerhouse, so it's better not to match it up with lighter fare, like fish or simple roast or grilled chicken.
- 1 pound (450g) sweet red cherries, halved and pitted
- 1/4 cup sugar (1 3/4 ounces; 50g)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90ml) sherry vinegar, plus more if needed, divided (see note)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 (12-ounce; 340g) heads radicchio, quartered, cores left intact
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals evenly over half of coal grate. Alternatively, set half the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine cherries with sugar and 1/4 cup (60ml) vinegar. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved and cherries have cooked down to a saucy, jammy consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Add remaining 2 tablespoons (30ml) vinegar in stages, tasting along the way and adding more if needed, until the flavor is brightly acidic with a strong sweet-sour balance, like tart lemonade. Simmer sauce further, if necessary, to reduce to a lightly syrupy consistency. Set aside to cool.
Arrange radicchio directly over the coals or high heat on a gas grill. Cook on both cut sides until lightly wilted and charred in spots, about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer radicchio to a platter, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle cherry sauce all over radicchio and scatter with mint leaves. Serve.
Other vinegars will work here as well, such as white wine, red wine, Champagne, and cider. Exactly how much you need will depend on the vinegar you use and the sweetness of your cherries.