An Italian relative of chicory, radicchio is a forced crop and has distinctive red and white leaves. The exact nature of its colouring depends upon how much light it has been exposed to when growing - if none at all, the contrast between the white ribs and the deep red leaves will be very strong. If it has seen some light, the white and red will be softened with patches of green or copper.
Shaped like a small cabbage, it's mainly used in salads, and its bitter flavour contrasts well with milder leaves such as rocket. The leaves themselves are tender but the heads are sturdy enough to be cut and grilled.
All year round, and you can try growing your own from seed.
Choose the best
Look for crisp leaves with no wilting or browning.
Wash, then break the leaves off the base and leave whole or tear or shred, as desired. If grilling, wash and cut into wedges.
Radicchio will last for around a week In a perforated bag in the fridge.
Quarter and grill (2-3 minutes on each side); use in salads; shred and add to creamy pasta sauces.
Radicchio resembles a petite head of red cabbage producing variegated dark, burgundy leaves with contrasting white ribs. Growing from orange to grapefruit size and easy to peel, the smooth, crisp leaves offer a bitter flavour with a hint of spice.
A member of the chicory family sometimes known as red chicory, radicchio has distinctive pink-red leaves with white veins. Its firm, cup-shaped leaves have a strongly bitter taste (though not quite as bitter as chicory). It is generally used in salads mixed with other salad leaves. In its native Italy it is often served shredded. Alternatively, tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
Recipes using radicchio
By James Martin
By Neil Rankin
By Claire Thomson
By Stephen Terry
By Gennaro Contaldo
Light meals and snacks
By The Hairy Bikers
By Jon Rotheram
By Theo Randall
Starters and nibbles
By James Martin
By Rick Stein
Get Fresh and Fruity Lettuce Radicchio, Fresh Salad & Leaves and Class 1 - Great Britain
Lettuce Radicchio from Get Fresh and Fruity Online