A vegetable from the chicory family, which has a tight head of dark scarlet leaves with creamy colored ribs. When it first begins to grow, radicchio has bright green leaves, which become deep green and then turn to burgundy red as they mature. The leaves are somewhat bitter tasting with a crisp texture and are used in salads and cooked dishes. The leaves may be rounded or elongated depending on the variety selected. In Italy, radicchio di Verona or radicchio di Chioggia refer to the round leafed variety and radicchio di Treviso is the elongated leaf. The Treviso variety os a more delicate flavored Radicchio which is not as bitter tasting as the round leafed variety. It can grilled or cooked with ingredients since it remains well textured after being cooked. And, it is a nice, crispy-textured addition to a variety of salads.
Radicchio is available throughout the year. When selecting, choose heads that have crisp, shiny leaves. Avoid heads with leaves that have brown spots, shriveled leaves or dried stem ends. To store, wrap in plastic and place in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator to keep fresh for two to three days. It is also known as red chicory, red-leafed chicory, red headed chicory, or Italian chicory.
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