“Radicchio” is a red-leafed variety of chicory that’s a little strange looking, with a curly, off-red stem, and white, lacy leaves. The chicories (or brassicas, as they’re commonly called, including kohlrabi and broccoli) are in the same family as “mustard” and “cabbage,” but they grow in clusters on the same plants, rather than on separate plants. There are several kinds of chicories, some of which you might not have heard of before, including the purple-stemmed “Black Seed” and the “Tuscan Love”.

The radicchio is a member of the chicory family, and a variety of bitter greens, and is a staple of Italian cuisine. This root vegetable is often made into a salad, and is eaten both raw right off the vine, or cooked and served in various dishes. The radicchio is an excellent source of Vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, potassium, and fiber, and a good source of Vitamin C, protein, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus and Vitamin A.

Radicchio Recipe & Nutrition | ‘s Encyclopedia of Food Radicchio (also known as frisée de radis) is a very tasty and nutritious salad green with a bitter taste that has been compared to eating raw bitter melon. The bitter flavoring derives from a compound called erucic acid, which is a saturated fatty acid found in the plant’s leaves, stems and roots. Erucic acid is the main ingredient responsible for the bitterness in bitter melon, radish, and turnip, and is also found in lesser amounts in broccoli, cabbage, celery, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, and watercress.

A Quick Look

Radicchio is a showy wine-colored chicory family member. It has a bitter, somewhat spicy, refreshing flavor that is comparable to Belgian endives. Radicchio was originally grown in Italy, and the two most common cultivars seen in supermarkets, Chioggia and Treviso, are named after the Italian towns where they originated. Radicchio is a cool-season crop that is available in the late winter and early spring. It is low in calories per volume, as with other green vegetables, but it is high in vitamin K and folate. Radicchio is also high in zeaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment related to vitamin A that is beneficial to eye health. Saying its name, like most Italian terms, will make you feel sophisticated and romantic. It’s pronounced rah-DEE-kee-oh, in case you’re wondering.

Overview

The chicory family member radicchio (pronounced rah-DEE-kee-oh) is a showy wine-colored member. It has a bitter, somewhat peppery flavor that is comparable to Belgian endives.

Radicchio has Italian origins, as one would expect from its name, and is often referred to as Italian chicory.

Radicchio was originally grown in Italy in the fourteenth century, and the two most common kinds sold now are named after towns in Italy. The Chioggia type is spherical and approximately the size of a grapefruit, while the Treviso variation is elongated and resembles a purple Belgian endive.

Radicchio, like Belgian endives, is grown in a complicated manner. It is first cultivated in the open air. The outer green leaves are removed from the leafy crown, revealing the striking contrast of white veining on deep purple foliage. These fragile heads are then kept in temperature and humidity-controlled chambers to develop in total darkness. Chlorophyll would be activated and the outer leaves would become green if they were exposed to light.

Radicchio thrives in cooler climates. They acquire their greatest taste and color when kept at a cool temperature.

Identification

Chioggia and Treviso are the two major types of radicchio.

Similar to endives, both kinds feature beautifully crisp leaves with a somewhat bitter, peppery flavor. They have a somewhat heartier texture than other lettuces, which makes them ideal for grilling. Their leaves have a white base that veins into a deep aubergine hue.

The Chioggia variety looks like a tiny, loosely packed red cabbage and is round and squat, approximately the size of a grapefruit. The Verona variant is somewhat longer and has a more bitter flavor.

Nutritional Information

18 calories, 1.2 grams of protein, 3.6 grams of carbs, 0.8 grams of fiber, 0.5 grams of sugar, and no fat in two cups of shredded radicchio (about 80.0 grams). Radicchio is a rich source of folate and a good source of vitamin K.

Radicchio is also high in zeaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment related to vitamin A that is beneficial to eye health. Radicchio, interestingly, includes lactucopicrin (also known as intybin), a bitter chemical with sedative and analgesic (painkilling) properties.

Selection

Radicchio is readily available in late winter and early spring at most decent grocery shops and fresh vegetable markets.

Fresh radicchio of good quality will have solid heads with tightly packed leaves. Vibrant colors should be used. Specimens with withering, discoloration, or holes from gnawing bugs should be avoided.

Storage

Radicchio is best kept in the refrigerator, covered with plastic. It will remain fresh for up to a week if stored in this manner.

Radicchio may be resurrected if it begins to wilt by cutting it up and soaking it in cold water for approximately half an hour, during which time it should firm up again.

Preparation

Radicchio is excellent sautéed or grilled, but raw is the easiest way to consume it.

To prepare radicchio, trim the gritty butt from the final centimeter. Cut a wedge off of the bottom of the radicchio, where the leaves have bonded together to create a solid white heart. This portion is very bitter, but it is fully edible, so you can choose whether or not to remove it. The leaves may then be separated from the head and used as cups for taco or sandwich fillings, or they can be sliced into thin ribbons and mixed into a salad. Wash the radicchio by straining it or rinsing the entire leaves under cold water. Dress it up with your favorite dressing or toppings, then dig in!

Grilled Radicchio with Honey Glaze

The honey and cinnamon sweetness, as well as the savory Parmesan cheese, combine to offset the radicchio’s inherently bitter taste – finally, a bitter vegetable you can love!

Ingredients

half-lengthwise cut radicchio 2 tblsp olive oil, plus a little extra for the pan 2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, aged 1-2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1-2 tablespoons

Directions

Time to prepare: 2 minutes Time to cook: 9 minutes There are 4 servings in this recipe.

Reduce the heat to low on the grill or grill plate. Drizzle a little olive oil on the grill plate if you’re using one.

In a small dish, combine 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, and 14 tsp cinnamon.

Radicchio should be cut in half lengthwise (do this right before you want to grill it otherwise it will start to brown).

Brush the mixture over both sides of the radicchio and put face down on the grill/grill plate, being sure to pick up some of the thick honey that will typically collect at the bottom of the bowl. On a grill pan, cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, or 3 to 4 minutes on a grill. Then raise the heat to medium-high, flip the radicchio, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until tender but not burned all the way through.

Finally, pour a little extra balsamic vinegar (about 12 tsp per radicchio half) and equally sprinkle grated Parmesan over all four halves.

Enjoy!

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Foods That Are Related

There are many varieties of radicchio, but the two most common are red and white. Red radicchio is the more bitter of the two and usually found in markets while white radicchio is milder and can be purchased in the produce section. Red radicchio is most often used to add flavor to pastas, salads, and other recipes. White radicchio is typically used in sandwiches or as a garnish and can be found in the salad section of most grocery stores.. Read more about radicchio recipes vegan and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get the bitterness out of radicchio?

The bitterness in radicchio is actually a result of the natural chemicals that are released when its cut. To get rid of the bitterness, you can soak the radicchio in a bowl of water for about 20 minutes to help release these chemicals and then drain out the excess water before using it.

What does radicchio go well with?

Radicchio goes well with many different foods. It is a vegetable that has a slightly bitter taste and is often used in salads.

How do you make radicchio taste good?

You can make radicchio taste good by adding a little bit of sugar and vinegar to it.

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