Radicchio, Roasted or in Spicy Salads

by Berkeley Wellness  

A variety of chicory, radicchio is a salad green with growing popularity in this country. Much of our radicchio is imported from Italy, where it dates back to the 1500s. In fact, radicchio means chicory in Italian. Radicchio’s mildly bitter flavor has a subtle spicy undertone. Because its texture is quite firm but still tender, it does well both in salads and as a cooked vegetable.

Radicchio: nutrition

Radicchio has a good amount of the B vitamin folate, and is a nearly fat-free source of vitamin E.

For a full list of nutrients, see Radicchio in the National Nutrient Database.

Types of radicchio

Radicchio comes in a range of colors, from light green to deep purple-red. The vegetable itself goes through several stages as it matures, starting with a green head and eventually turning deep burgundy in the cold weather. Most of the varieties that we get in this country have retained their Italian place names, which is how the Italians differentiate among the various types of radicchio.

Radicchio di Castelfranco: This radicchio is quite loose-leafed. It looks like a butterhead lettuce rosette. The leaves are variegated pink.

Radicchio di Chioggia: This cabbage-headed radicchio comes in a range of colors, from white-green to red to variegated purple-green.

Radicchio di Treviso: The size of a very large endive, Treviso’s elongated head looks like a purple-red Romaine lettuce.

Radicchio di Verona: This looks like a miniature red cabbage, but the white of the ribs and the deep burgundy of the leaves are in stark contrast. The head is quite compact.

Zuckerhut: This is what is called a “green-heading” radicchio, which means it is sold when it is green. It is a dense, elongated head like romaine lettuce.

How to choose the best radicchio

The leaves of both round and elongated radicchios should be firm and the edges should not be brown.

How to store radicchio at home

Radicchio has a relatively short storage life. Though it looks like a cabbage, its tender, fleshy leaves are less hardy and should be treated more like lettuce for storage. Heads of radicchio should be stored in well-ventilated plastic bags in the crisper drawer.

3 radicchio recipe ideas

1. Make a radicchio salad with beets and goat cheese.

2. Try roasted radicchio. Cut the head in fourths and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar and shredded Parmesan.

3. Add radicchio to a frisée salad with a mustard dressing.

Also see Tossed Salad Recipe Creator.