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 mins on each side); use in salads; shred and add to creamy pasta sauces.