by The Culinistas
If you’ve been eyeing that purple and white orb sitting in the lettuce section of your local grocer, next time, pick one up. That’s radicchio, a bitter lettuce in the chicory family similar to endive and escarole. It’s brilliantly colored, and rich in Vitamin K which helps promote bone health and heart health by preventing mineral build up in the arteries. In NYC, radicchio pops up in the market come September and peaks during the winter months. Best to get acquainted now!
Radicchio’s signature bitter, almost spicy flavor means that it holds up well when grilled or cooked down in braises. It adds a much needed crunch and bite to grain or pasta salads, we love to grill it then roughly chop for a Cannellini & Orzo Salad with plenty of mint and walnuts.
If you’re eating it raw, pair with something creamy like goat cheese or feta, something sweet like dates, beets, grapefruit segments, or grapes, and something herbaceous like basil, mint, or chives. Some varieties of radicchio are more oblong than others, meaning if you slice off the end and break off the leaves, you can use them as crudités for dips, or lettuce cups for chicken or egg salad.
A special thanks to Sylvie Rosokoff for the beautiful photograph.