Wild gusts of wind blew tents back and forth, and El Niño’s first heavy rain reared its head at this week’s Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. It’s a good thing that farmers are some of the noblest yet toughest people on the planet. The severe weather didn’t keep Nate Peitso, owner of Maggie’s Farm in Agoura Hills, California, from arriving with his vast array of herbs, lettuces, and microgreens. Nate, a strikingly tall, burly fellow is a great example for kids that a market-fresh diet can help you grow up big and strong.
This week, Laura Avery talks with Nate about radicchio, (sounds like Pinocchio), which he grows year-round, planting new transplants every third day. Radicchio grows best and develops its deepest flavors in cold, frosty weather. His upcoming yield will have been planted, grown, and cultivated in completely cold weather, so you can expect a deep, rich, satisfying flavor.
Radicchio is a key component in Nate’s popular baby salad mix, adding a refreshingly bitter flavor that the baby greens just don’t have on their own. He recommends balancing the bitterness with an acid, like a vinaigrette, and maybe some salt and olive oil. It really embodies the satisfying pleasures of a simple salad
The radicchio’s compact, crunchy texture cooks up well for warm salads. Joseph Johnson is the chef de cuisine at Josiah Citrin’s restaurant, Charcoal, where most foods have a cooked-over-charcoal element. Their Grilled Radicchio Salad with Portobello Mushrooms, Maui Onions & Salted Almonds showcases a nice mix of ingredients from the farmers market, including radicchio from Maggie’s Farm and almonds from Fat Uncle Farms. Each ingredient gets a quick marinade in a balsamic and honey mixture, but are then grilled separately. He then plates them together, letting all the elements—bitter, sweet, and earthy—individually shine, while still complementing each other.
You can find the recipe for Charcoal Venice’s Grilled Radicchio Salad with Portobello Mushrooms, Maui Onions & Salted Almonds here.