Nerding Out on Radicchio
In your share this week is one of my favorite things to harvest on the farm. It adds vibrancy to the dull monotones of late fall, and a pop of color in our salad mix. It might startle you with its bitter taste but can be tempered with a sauté or a dressing. It’s a chicory from Italy, and it thrives in the winter months. I’ve heard it’s the new kale!!! You guessed it…..RADICCHIO. Let us not be scared of its bitter nature but find its sweeter parts, and tell all your friends how rad it is!
This year we grew around 20 different radicchio varieties. The main radicchio we grow all throughout the summer is chioggia radicchio and is an ingredient in our salad mix, adding a pop of color and cut of bitterness. We plant other varieties in the late summer and harvest them in the late fall. The colder it gets, the more vibrant their colors become. This year one of my favorite varieties was the pink radicchio, Rosalba variety. It produces the most beautiful spectrum of pink color, you won’t believe that it came from the ground!! Another favorite of mine is Treviso, a popular variety among radicchio nerds. It is sturdy and grows in a shape similar to a football. It had a deep purply/red/maroon color that contrasts its white veins very nicely.
I love how radicchio has so many layers, which is how it is able to protect itself in winter months. When it is cold and rainy out and all you see is what looks like a bed of rotting heads, all you have to do is peel back a few layers of each head to find an inner vibrancy. A nice metaphor about life, really.
What might you do with your radicchio, do you ask? Try making a salad with a creamy dressing and some walnuts. Or roasting it with some potatoes and grating some parmesan cheese on it. Or how about sautéing it and putting it on a piece of toast? Tell us about your cool creations! I hope you come to find, as I have, that winter salads are very hearty and exciting. Check out Chicory Week on Instagram for a further education on radicchio with cool pictures. I hope you, too, nerd out about raddicchio!