Radicchio, the beautiful moon-shaped maroon lettuce from the chicory family, starts out with a bitter edge when raw. But after a short stint in the sauté pan, it sweetens and adds its graceful note of flavor to tender, supple green beans.
Yield: 4 servings
1 pound green beans
¾ small head radicchio
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Snap off ends of beans. Core radicchio and finely slice. Blanch beans in water until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain well and reserve pan.
2. Return pan to medium heat and add butter. When melted, stir in radicchio and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lettuce is lightly wilted, about 3 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to low and stir in beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, about 2 minutes. Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
There are a number of varieties of radicchio grown in Italy. Another we get here looks like a head of burgundy-colored Romaine lettuce. Use it just like the more familiar round one.