Radicchio braised with blue cheese, compliments of Stephanie’s

When it comes to the re-awareness, or re-interpretation of dishes, or discovery of ingredients, then nobody works harder or does it better than Stephanie Alexander, the well-known restaurateur and brilliant writer on food and food matters.

I think if I could wish for anybody in the business to cook for me at home, it would be Stephanie. Her cooking and writing upholds all the values of home and community and the culture of Australia. There are no free swings with Stephanie. Just an examination of her life and her experiences, as put together on the plate. First it was lamb shanks on a flash menu, then it was scallops from Coffin bay, a pheasant like none other, a raspberry crumble as tactile today as it was when I first tasted it, and now, believe it or not, braised radicchio.

Before Stephanie’s, radicchio was a pretty colour with a bitter flavour. Not now. Once I had tasted it braised, given an added flavour with blue cheese, I had to have the recipe.

1 round, firm radicchio, cut into quarters, then in halves again, maintaining the core

60g butter (‘a lump of butter!’)

black pepper

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

100g creamy blue cheese — Stephanie uses Gippsland Blue.


Wash the lettuce to remove any grit, then drain well.


Melt the butter in a heavy pan. Add radicchio, grind pepper over each piece, and cook gently for about 5 minutes, turning pieces at least once. It should wilt, and take on a slightly forlorn look, without losing its shape.


Add the balsamic vinegar, turn up the heat to high, and cook for a minute, turning the radicchio in the syrupy juices. Remove from heat and set aside on a tray, tipping over any juices left in the pan. You can leave it now until you need to finish it.


Cover the radicchio with slim slices of cheese and cook under a hot griller (if proceeding directly and the radicchio is still hot) for a couple of minutes, or in a 220°C oven for about 5–10 minutes (if the radicchio is cold to start with) until the cheese has melted, and melded with the radicchio. Watch it. The cheese can burn if it gets too close to the grill, or too hot.


Serve with anything you like. It works brilliantly with veal, just as well with chicken, and it’s not bad at all on its own. Stephanie tells me that many people at the restaurant push the radicchio aside and leave it for the cat. Oh well.

WINE: As an aside, there is always a debate among winemakers over what to serve with blue cheese. Frankly, red wine doesn’t work. Try a port, vintage or tawny, or a botrytis white wine.