Green radicchio is an heirloom variety of chicory; it has been used in dishes, salads and even as a decorative plant for more than 300 years. It is native to Europe, more specifically Italy. It is commonly found in the dishes of Milan and is used in the springtime in France. The hearty green grows best in the cool months, and its real flavor comes through in the harsher, cooler conditions. Green radicchio has even been known to grow right under the snow. This variety of radicchio is not popular or widely grown in the US, though it is seen more and more at local farmer’s markets and in CSA boxes.
Green radicchio is more commonly known as Sugarloaf chicory or Pain de Sucre in French and Blanc di Milan in Italian. Radicchio is a member of the chicory family. This Treviso-style radicchio looks very much like a head of romaine lettuce, with all of the bitterness and flavor of radicchio. Pulling away the dark, oblong-shaped green outer leaves reveals a light green to almost yellowish-white center of tightly clustered leaves. Green radicchio is the mildest of the radicchio varieties. The flavor is sweet with a hint of bitterness and a distinct crisp, crunchy texture.
Green radicchio is a great addition to salads or used as a bed for grilled meats. The bitterness lends flavor to soups, or as a side dish sautéed with a little olive oil and mushrooms and onions. The flavor of radicchio also pairs well with pork; add to stews and stir fry’s. Grill Green radicchio and serve as a side dish or with other roasted vegetables. Roasting raddichio heads also softens and sweetens the bitter flavor. In Italy, Green radicchio is added to pizzas, pastas and in France, young radicchio is used in stews.
Keep radicchio loosely wrapped in plastic in the vegetable drawer of a fridge for up to a week.
Radicchio & Spinach Salad with Mushrooms & Sunflower Seeds
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 oz spinach (I used baby)
1 medium sized head of radicchio torn into bite sized pieces
4 oz of mushrooms - sliced
1 green onion - minced
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (I did roasted and salted)
1. Whisk the first three ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Gradually whisk in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Combine radicchio, spinach and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Add dressing to taste, toss to coat. I prefer to add dressing with salad on my plate, but you could mix the entire bowl as well.
- 1-2 heads treviso (green) radicchio
- EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- favorite dressing
- salt and pepper
- Preheat your grill.
- Slice radicchio as seen in the picture – through the stem. Rinse out the leaves to remove any dirt. Let drain cut-side down on paper towels while you make dressing. We use a balsamic vinaigrette (see escarole salad recipe).
- Rub bottom leaves with EVOO. Drizzle EVOO on cut-side of radicchio and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on grill cut-side up. Grill with cover down for 5-7 minutes. When bottom leaves are getting a slight char, grill radicchio cut-side down for 5-7 minutes.
- When done cooking, remove radicchio to platter to rest and drizzle dressing over.
- When ready to serve, chop radicchio and serve!