“Nothing new under the sun” is mostly true. The wheel was an invention but at that time wasn’t the gear just a wheel with a bumpy edge? Most of my career in design I have looked at strategies or possibilities existing in the world and applied them in new ways.
The engineering brilliance of the canoe became the inspiration for developing very thin new laminations I developed with my brother and then used as materials for a collection of furniture. The same thing happens when I cook. I have no idea how this recipe originated. Maybe it was eating a bacon-wrapped prune at somebody’s holiday party. For sure it was my love of braised or grilled radicchio, which have a bittersweet flavor and a noble structure.
Somewhere a light went off in my head.
What I do here is select relatively small round heads of radicchio, all about the same size. I plan that each dinner guest will eat one whole one but that is not necessarily the case and in the end they are great left over. Here’s my recipe:
Cut the radicchio heads in half at the waist (stem at bottom). Face the cut side up. Then for each ‘hemisphere’ of radicchio wrap two slices of San Daniele prosciutto around the top of the round edge. Allow each slice to create a very short railing around the circular top. Maybe each slice will go all the way around, maybe not. Doesn’t matter. The second slice should be centered and cover the ends of the first slice and more or less meet. The ham slices will hold together.
Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top of each radicchio hemisphere then add sea salt and pepper to taste. You can add thyme leaves if you want. Arrange them in an oven-proof casserole tightly fitting. Put them in a hot oven (400 degrees or so) for 15 minutes or more until the prosciutto gets crispy but not burnt and the radicchio starts to looked grilled at the edges. Remove and serve in the casserole. They will look like a bouquet of roasted roses.
Kevin Walz is a renowned designer and artist who has worked in the USA and Italy. He is also a fantastic gardener and home cook that specializes in healthy, mostly vegetarian recipes such as pasta with chickpeas or borlotti beans, Tuscan bean soup (ribollita), all sorts of delicious baked goods and homemade gelato using fresh seasonal ingredients often from his urban garden in New York City. He is a regular contributor to numerous design and style publications and guest blogger for Casa Mia.