Sunday, January 24, 2010


Radicchio, pronounced Ra--dee--kee--o, has been a mainstay of my table for many years, long before I began to see it mentioned in magazines like Gourmet and Bon Appetit, or before one leaf under an appetizer occasionally appeared in restaurants. My husband, along with many other Italians transplanted to the New World, has always grown it, and here on the Pacific coast of Canada it does extremely well. In fact, believe it or not, we had our last Radicchio salad sometime in the week between Christmas and New Years. It was growing in the back yard under a grape vine crawling along the fence. It is, to my taste, better in the fall when there has been somewhat colder weather, and it can even withstand a slight frost. It is a type of Chicory, and the cold makes it better, less bitter. We love a salad of torn leaves with lots of finely-minced raw garlic and a spritz of oil and red wine vinegar. It is an acquired taste, but one which I have long since acquired.
The other thing about Radicchio is that it is so beautiful! Its dark red or maroon-coloured leaves with white veins are a stunning addition to the table, either alone or mixed with greens. Some of my Italian friends (from Treviso, which is famous for the self-named Radicchio) serve it dressed with a few spoons of cooked cranberry beans (fagioli) on top. That's delicious too, and adds a bit of protein.
Radicchio comes in a variety of types, Palla Rosso, Chioggia, Treviso etc., but you don't need to know that unless you plan to grow it. You can't miss those gorgeous dark red heads in the produce department.
Grilled Radicchio is also quite popular these days, where you simply slice a head into segments, probably quarters, brush them with oil, and grill them on the barbeque as an accompaniment to grilled meat or fish. But at my place, we enjoy it as a salad the best.
Do try it soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment