The most common type of radicchio worldwide is the variety called Chioggia, but in the Veneto, Radicchio Trevigiano proudly rules the table.
With its storied past, radicchio has been part of the Italian diet since the times of Pliny the Elder. Prized for its nutritional properties and pleasantly bitter bite, it adds a kick, not to mention a pop of color to any menu.
There are two types of the variety particular to Treviso: precoce, and tardivo. Precoce, or early radicchio, is long and slender with leaves of even width. The tardivo, or late-ripening radicchio, boasts the famous finger-like leaves and has a more pronounced flavor. Resembling a wine-stained flower, this head of
lettuce chicory is anything but ordinary.
Radicchio Trevigiano is available starting in the late fall and produces throughout winter.
The bitter flavor is attributed to a chemical called intybin, which is known to stimulate the appetite and help purify the liver.
There are so many ways to prepare this versatile vegetable. In addition to its obvious use in salad, radicchio is delicious simply grilled with olive oil, sautéed and added to risotto, or braised until tender. The opportunity for creativity endless and any effort made to locate this culinary star is handsomely rewarded at any table.