Chef Tomaž Kavčič's traditional rose radicchio salad with a Michelin spin
The illustrious Slovenian chef of Michelin star restaurant Gostilna pri Lojzetu uses Gorizia Rose Radicchio, freeze-dried pancetta cracklings, grated hard-boiled egg, bean cream, and a simple dressing to bring out the natural flavours and highlight the unrivaled crunch of this special radicchio that looks like a rose.
Star chefs often have a fondness for unexpected ingredients. For Tomaž Kavčič of the Michelin-starred restaurant Gostilna pri Lojzetu in Slovenia's Vipava Valley, that ingredient is radicchio. But not just any radicchio: Kavčič is partial to a local variety of the reddish-purple lettuce called Gorizia Rose Radicchio. It only grows on a select few fields near Soča River by Slovenia's border with Italy, and, as its name suggests, it looks just like a rose in full bloom.
The distinguished Gorizia Rose has become wildly popular in high-end European kitchens not only because of its gorgeous colour on the plate but also because its crunch is incomparable to any other leaf. Kavčič's love for this radicchio stems back to his childhood, when he would accompany his grandfather to the local farmers to get produce for the family restaurant. His grandfather would regale him with stories about different ingredients, and the region's renowned radicchio always stood out for its prized nature and bold appearance.
When Gorizia Rose is in season from December to March, Kavčič likes to prepare it as a traditional salad that highlights its colour and crunch. He accentuates it with complementary flavours and textures to showcase the stellar local radicchio to guests at the restaurant his family has owned since 1897.
The recipe starts with bean cream that includes potatoes, sauteed onions, and stock blended with salt and pepper. Next, he adds crispy pancetta that he freeze-dries, along with grated hard-boiled egg for richness to contrast the bright, bitter Gorizia Rose. Finally, everything is brought into harmony with a simple dressing of olive oil and fresh lemon juice that accentuates the main ingredient.
While the popularity of Gorizia Rose has elevated its price, you can easily recreate Kavčič's recipe for your loved ones using any high-quality radicchio available at your local market—although you'll miss out on that exceptional crunch. Regardless of the radicchio you use, it's the perfect dish to inspire colourful creativity in plate presentation.
Chef Kavčič's Traditional Rose Radicchio Salad
SERVING SIZE: 4 people
200g cooked beans
- For the bean cream, sauté the chopped onion on olive oil. Add sliced potatoes and beans, sauté for a few minutes and add the stock. After the potatoes are soft, prepare a cream using a blender. Strain it and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut the pancetta into small pieces and roast them in a small pan. Place them on the paper towels to get rid of excess fat.
- Hard-boil the eggs and wash the radicchio. In a small bowl mix some olive oil and lemon juice for the salad dressing.
- Put a spoonful of bean cream on the plate, add the radicchio and add the cracklings. Top with prepared dressing and grated hard-boiled eggs.
- For his Michelin-star take on his traditional dish, Chef Tomaž Kavčič used the authentic Gorizia Rose Radicchio and freeze-dried cracklings.