Radicchio – sometimes known as Italian chicory is in the daisy family (Asteraceae) Chicorium intybus. This is a valued salad green in French and Italian cuisines for its bitter and spicy flavour. In an after dinner salad it is used as an aid to digestion
Easily grown from seed and planted out in summer it is ready to harvest in early winter. The colder weather initiates the reddening and heading of the heart – the part you eat.
How to cook it: The bitter flavour mellows when it is roasted or grilled – which is how I have cooked it here, and it turns a lovely bronzed colour Simply toss the washed (dried) quartered hearts, discarding the outer leaves, in 2 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs balsamic vinegar adding a dash of salt and pepper. Place in a medium oven 180oC for about 15 minutes. Serve with a milder meat, like chicken, or great with sausages. Fresh, you can also finely shred it and add to pasta and risotto.