Where Great Meals Begin

Ingredient Spotlight: Raddichio

By on Feb 28, 2019 in BLOG | 0 comments

photo: Food52

HISTORY

Radicchio is a storied green known for its vibrant, variegated burgundy and white markings. A member of the chicory family, radicchio was revered in antiquity for blood purifying and curing insomnia. Farmers cultivated the annual crop in the Veneto region of Italy in the sixteenth century, and some three hundred years later, a Belgian agronomist engineered the plant to exhibit the pigment we now associate with the leafy vegetable. Radicchio is anchored by its place of origin, with several varieties, including the beautiful Variegato di Castelfranco IGP and Radicchio di Chioggia IGP boasting ‘Protected Geographical Indication’ or IGP status.

HOW TO BUY

Whether you choose the oblong and bitter Treviso, the round Chioggia or the milder speckled green and red Castelfranco, look for bright leaves that are free of blemishes. Radicchio stores refrigerated for a week or two, but for the best flavor, enjoy as soon as possible after purchase. This leafy green should be embraced for its bitterness, but if the taste is too bitter, soak leaves in ice water and then spin dry or shred thin before dressing.

HOW TO PREPARE

With its assertive bitter flavor and sturdy leaves, radicchio holds its own when dressed with the zippiest of vinaigrettes, even in advance, making it a smart salad to bring along to a potluck.  Halved and slicked with oil, radicchio can be grilled, which will bring out a faint nutty sweetness that is well complimented by a high quality balsamic vinegar. A radicchio salad with fennel, orange and hazelnuts makes a welcome foil to the heavy roasted meats and carby sides of so many winter meals.

MENU IDEAS

Portions of this post were first published in Richmond Magazine. All content written by Stephanie Ganz.