This colourful, smoky and vegetarian entrée makes for a perfectly balanced starter or side dish.
1 small radicchio, leaves separated
60 ml (¼ cup) verjuice
Roasted chopped hazelnuts, baby red shiso and bull’s blood leaves (see note), to serve
12 baby beetroot, trimmed
8 thyme sprigs
100 gm woodchips (see note), soaked in cold water for 30 minutes, drained
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 golden shallots, thinly sliced
225 ml white wine vinegar
80 ml (⅓ cup) dry white wine
75 gm currants
45 gm caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 180˚C. Place beetroot on sheet of foil lined with baking paper; drizzle with oil, scatter with thyme and season to taste. Toss to coat. Enclose foil and paper and place on a large oven tray. Roast until beetroot are just tender (50 minutes). Cool slightly, then peel and halve.
- For smoked beetroot, line a large wok with foil, place soaked woodchips in base and place a wire rack on top. Place beetroot on rack and cover with a lid or a double layer of foil to seal tightly. Heat wok over an outside gas ring over medium heat until chips begin to smoke. Reduce heat to low and smoke until beetroot have taken on the smoky flavour (15 minutes).
- Meanwhile, for agrodolce, heat oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook shallots, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften (3 minutes). Add remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced (12 minutes); keep warm.
- Place radicchio in a large bowl, drizzle with extra oil, season to taste and toss to coat. Heat a large frying pan over high heat; cook radicchio, tossing frequently, until starting to wilt (30 seconds). Deglaze pan with verjuice; cook, tossing frequently, until verjuice has evaporated.
- To serve, divide radicchio among plates and top with beetroot and bull’s blood. Spoon over warm agrodolce and scatter with hazelnuts and herbs.