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radicchio-550

Produce 101:

Sure you’ve seen it, likely you’ve tried it – but do you know how to say it? Radicchio is pronounced “rah-DEE-kee-oh”. 

It is a type of Italian leaf chicory (like endive, frisée, or escarole) that ranges from pink in hue to a deep red. It has a slightly bitter, spicy flavour that can be mellowed with grilling. Radicchio is a delicious addition to salads and can also be enjoyed grilled or roasted with a little bit of olive oil. 

How to select radicchio

  • Choose heads of radicchio that are firm with bright-coloured leaves.
  • Discard leaves that are dried, limp, torn, or mottled.
  • The leaves should be tender, yet crisp with no wilting or browning.

 About radicchio varieties

Radicchio varieties are named after the places from which they are grown. The main ones you’ll see in grocery stores are typically Treviso or Chioggia.

 Untitled
  • Treviso is longer, similar in shape to an endive with white ribs and ranges in colour from light pink leaves to dark red. It’s milder than the round varieties of raddichio.
  • (Photo source: http://www.jmarchinifarms.com/products/radicchio-di-treviso.html)

 

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  • Chioggia [kee-OH-ja] radicchio resembles a small cabbage with dark coloured leaves and white ribs.

 

  • Verona is also round with loosely packed leaves and white ribs.
  • Tardiva is smaller with long white ribs and thin red leaves.
  • Castelfranco resembles a flower and looks like a blooming lettuce head with flecks of radicchio red colour.

 

How to store radicchio

  • Store radicchio unwashed in the vegetable crisper for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing radicchio is not recommended.

Serving ideas

Radicchio tastes great raw, but some may want to mellow its flavour by mixing it with other sweeter greens. Radicchio is also complemented with acidic or citrusy flavours and slightly sweet dressings as well as fatty foods.

Radicchio provides a welcome pop of colour to dishes and is often served as part of a salad.

Prep tips

  • Rinse in cold water to remove outer dirt or grit. The leaves on the inside should be clean.
  • Cut in half vertically and cut out the dense core of the radicchio in a V shape (on each side) and discard.
  • Chop as desired to accommodate your recipe.

 How to prepare

Radicchio is best served raw, roasted or grilled.

  • To roast them, quarter them and lay on a large rimmed baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a preheated oven at 400°F about 10-15 minutes on each side until tender.
  • To grill them, quarter them and brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place wedges directly on grill. Grill for 5-10 minutes on each side (depending on how hot the fire is) until nicely charred and tender.

Freezing or boiling radicchio is not recommended.

What goes well with radicchio?

Radicchio goes well with olive oil, salt, balsamic vinegar, capers, citrus, sour cream, bacon, tuna, walnuts, cheese, and cream-based pasta sauce.

 Radicchio Nutritional facts

A serving size of 100 g is just 23 calories and 0% fat.

Due to its vibrant colour, radicchio contains antioxidants lutein + zeaxanthin (8832 mcg per 100g). A serving has 15% of your daily requirement for folate, 13% of your daily dose of vitamin C and over 100% of your K! It is also a source of vitamins B6 and E, fibre, iron, potassium, manganese and copper.

Radicchio also contains inulin, which is a substance found in chicories (like endive, frisée, or escarole) that help regulate blood sugar.

 

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