Appreciating the Potent Flavor of Winter’s Salad
It’s that time of year again where I get to geek out about radicchios—winter’s salad! Perhaps I like radicchio because we share Italian roots, or perhaps it’s because I appreciate their winter hardiness and vibrancy. I like a vegetable that can endure the winter months. I find that people often like to admire their beauty, but when challenged to use them in the kitchen, feel at a loss. I understand! I didn’t know what a radicchio was before working at Red Dog and it took me a couple years into working here to actually take one home. Now I always have one in my fridge.
This week your share includes treviso radicchio, which is a vibrant, deep red with a think, white vein down the middle. It can be used in place of a football if you find yourself needing one. Whenever I harvest them I have to resist the urge to throw them at my teammates downfield. This radicchio is a great compliment in a salad with a creamy dressing like tahini or Caesar. If you want to dull the bitterness, grilling, braising, or sautéing the greens will lessen the stronger flavor, perhaps making it a little more accessible for the radicchio skeptics out there. Of course it pairs well with its Italian counterpart, olive oil—a nice drizzle of that, maybe with a dollop of ricotta and a pinch of pepper, and I’d say ”bon appetite.” It is also a nice addition to a pasta dish.
See how you like this variety… then come to the Farmstand to try more. If this one proves to be a little too bitter for you, I suggest trying the pink radicchio and the sugarloaf. If you like the taste of treviso, try the castelfranco and the chioggia. Try a radicchio a week!!! In fact, here’s a handy cheat sheet to introduce you to several varieties of radicchio and a few other chicories. You got this!
Enjoy your share this week.