Sunday, January 17, 2010

Radicchio - fall wonder vegetable

Lately I have been writing about vegetables I grew last year that I enjoyed eating and that also grew well in my northern garden.  I particularly liked this organic Early Palla Rossa Radicchio.  Rachicchio is part of the chicory family (chichorimum intybus) and this is the traditional head type.  I hadn't grown radicchio before so I really didn't know what to expect.  It is shown above not quite mature and still forming into a head.

Below are the stunning ruby red and white veined heads.  I picked these at the end of October.  The package said 85 days but I planted them early May and harvested quite late.  I hauled more out of the garden mid-November.  They just kept coming!  Fall apparently is the best time to harvest as they are less bitter.  They kept well in my fridge up until December.  My kind of vegetable.

The flavour is both bitter and delicious.  Bitter to the tongue, sweet to the stomach..... It is usually a salad vegetable adding colour and texture to mesculun or other greens.  I like it shredded and mixed in with my garden salads.

I had a bumper crop last fall so I explored new ways to cook with it. I tried the grilled approach and toss it with olive oil and finely minced garlic and freshly ground black pepper.  That was very delicious.  I also shredded into ribbons and added to soup.  I read that it would be good sauteed with raisins and pine nuts like a chard but I didn't get that far!  I know it would be good on pizza or tossed into hot pasta.  Lots of possibilities.

I am curious to hear if others grow chicories and endive and what the favourite types, successes and uses are!  Also, where are you ordering your seeds from this year?

© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc
Visit me at  
for course information, menus and registration. 

No comments: