radicchio made easy.
I confess, radicchio evaded me for many years. I looked at it forlornly... knowing I needed to invite it back to my kitchen, if just for a dabble of this and that. It is a glorious looking vegetable, bursting with purples leaves and white veins, with a flavor pushing bitter and spicy... but milder once it is grilled or roasted. I meant to give it a chance, and knew if I did we would become fast friends.
I finally took the time to get to know radicchio: it shows up with overwhelming consistency at Italian markets this time of year. Every little 'frutta & verdura' stand---the indoor grocer and outdoor markets---all have these grapefruit-sized purple globes. For cheap. How could I resist? I am eating seasonally, on a budget, in Italy (where radicchio was first commercially grown, 15th century). Besides, right now I have time to indulge in food, get a feel for my new cooking degree and fly out of my culinary nest. Bring on the newbies!
And it was pure reward: my entire family has invited radicchio into the circle. (New vegetables that the kids like? SCORE). Yes, you may top our table, and yes we will appreciate you. Radicchio is a fitting splash of color and taste in salads, and if roasted or grilled will find happy forks as far as my family is concerned.
So far, I have made radicchio 2 different ways---both with great success.
I roasted it. Well when it comes to veggies, roasting is my default. Why? It makes veggies taste great (like candy, some kids will say), I get to us coarse salt and olive oil (2 of my fave ingredients) and it is easy. Spread out veggies on tray, lube with oil, sprinkle with salt and pop in oven... who can argue with that? I sliced it into 1/2 inch wedges, lubed with oil and salt, and put them in the 400F oven for 15-20 min. Optional: put on plate or in serving bowl, and drizzle with reduced balsamic (or the store bought glaze). Worst case, the fancy drizzle makes you look like you know what you are doing; best case it blows the dish out of the water.
The second way I prepped radicchio was grilled, with seasoned bread crumbs and reduced balsamic (food network). If you don't have time to reduce the balsamic (though try it sometime, it is EASY aka turn on your burner and simmer it), simply squirt on reduced balsamic glaze, that you buy in the store (I LOVE this product---we put it on sandwiches all the time).
- Radicchio has its own dedicated website
- Radicchio is part of the chicory family; its roots used to be used to make coffee
- It is harvested in spring or fall, and often named according to the [Italian] region they are grown in (seriously, no surprise there); these then, count as radicchio: Treviso, Tardivo, Castelfranco, and Radicchio from Chioggia (etc.).
- In Italy, you will find radicchio in risotto, soups, tapenade, grilled and roasted.
- The next recipe I am going to try is: Wilted Radicchio & Apple Salad with Bacon Dressing
- When you type 'radicchio' into the search bar at Food Network, it pops up with 84 quite yummy looking results.
- Come on---try it already!