Radiccio, Warm Butternut and Fennel Salad

Radiccio, Warm Butternut and Fennel Salad

Radiccio, Warm Butternut and Fennel Salad 1920 2560 Daryl Duarte

Radicchio, Warm Butternut Squash & Fennel Salad

The tongue has taste receptors for bitter, sweet, salty, and sour.  This salad lights up the tongue!  The vinegar is sour, the squash is sweet, and radicchio is bitter and the salt - is salty!  It is a taste sensation!  Salads are art rather than science.  You can add some additional components - pecans and blue or goat cheese are favorites - but that is the discretion of the chef - and should be left to the preferences of the guests.  Easy things to add - or omit.  Precise measures on the olive oil, finish salt and pepper and vinegar drizzles are difficult to provide.  My guidance is this - you don't want a salad to be overdressed or underdressed.  The same rule applies to your guests!


  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Fennel Bulb
  • 1 head of radicchio
  • Some pickled purple onion
  • Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • extra-virgin olive oil for dressing and garnish
  • red wine vinegar for dressing and garnish
  • Best quality finishing sea salt Maldon to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Reduced balsamic vinegar garnish (boil down balsamic until it is syrupy and thick and then cool and store in a squeeze bottle.


Preparing the Butternut (recommended doing a day ahead)

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Peel the butternut and cut into 1-inch cubes, approximately. Discard the seeds and top and bottom into the compost bin.
  • Transfer the cubed butternut into a large mixing bowl, and toss with olive oil and salt, and pepper. Spread it out on a 12 x 18-inch baking dish, lined with a silicone matt.
  • Cook for approximately 30 minutes, until the squash, is just starting to get some browned bits – but you want this to have a vibrant color – so don’t over-brown. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate until you are ready to prepare the salad.

Prepare the pickled onion at least two hours prior to serving

  • Prepare the red onion: Slice the red onion on the mandolin, thin but not shaved, using caution and a cut-proof glove. Put into a bowl, and cover with white wine vinegar, and set aside. These will last for weeks in the refrigerator.

Assemble the salad

  • Slice the fennel on a mandoline, using caution and a cut-proof glove. Transfer the thinly sliced fennel to a mixing bowl – and toss with olive oil, red wine vinegar and a pinch of kosher salt, and a few twists of a pepper grinder.
  • Peel the leaves off the radicchio and trim off any discolored bits. Lay the radicchio out on the plate. Then, place a mound of the sliced fennel in the center.
  • Put the squash in a microwave to heat – for about 1 to 2 minutes. You want it warm – not hot. Start with 1 minute and check the temperature – if it needs more – heat incrementally until nicely warmed. Decorate the plate with the squash.
  • Using a squeeze bottle, drizzle some olive oil and some red wine vinegar, and a bit of reduced balsamic vinegar.
  • Garnish with some parsley leaves and some pickled purple onion.


All ingredients are to taste. More or less of this or that. Good luck!
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