From the Hills of Italy
Radicchio is native to the hills of Italy, and has been commonly eaten in Western Europe for centuries.
A staple on Mediterranean and European tables, radicchio has taken American salads by storm since the 1980s as a popular Italian vegetable used in salads as well as pastas and risotto.
These small loose heads sport crisp, satiny red leaves with white ribs. Often eaten raw in salads, radicchio has a slightly bitter taste and can also be grilled or cooked in a little olive oil (Italian-style).
Rich in Nutrients
Radicchio, with its powerful flavor and color profile, provides an antioxidant content that rivals that of blueberries and spinach. These fleshy red chicories are packed with fiber, vitamin C and potassium and is a good source of vitamin K and folate.
What put radicchio on the map was the packaged salad industry. The use of radicchio as a salad ingredient in bagged blends helped boost customer familiarity.
Honey will complement the radicchio’s natural bitter essence. Accents such as blue cheese pair with the radicchio’s bold taste. Radicchio works as both a salad item and as a cooking item, like spinach.
Radicchio Nutrition Highlights per 1-cup (40g) raw, shredded:
- Calories: 9.2
- Total fat: 0.10g
- Dietary fiber: 0.36g
- Protein: 0.57g
- Carbohydrate: 1.79g
- Cholesterol: 0
- Potassium: 121mg
- Sodium: 0.1mg
To grill radicchio the leaves can be wrapped whole around produce items or meats, or prepared separately. If you wish to grill radicchio separately, quarter the heads lengthwise, sprinkle them in olive oil and add salt to taste. Grill until the core is tender and the outer leaves brown. This could take about 30 minutes – and be sure to rotate occasionally. Sprinkle your freshly grilled radicchio with asiago or a favorite cheese of yours just before serving. Grilled radicchio can be made sweeter by mixing it with sweet onion or another caramelizing vegetable.
Grilled radicchio is great on grilled chicken sandwiches. Add it to your grilled chicken sandwich along with tomatoes, mozzarella, and pesto. Put all of these ingredients between two pieces of crusty French bread, brush both sides with olive oil, and throw it on the grill for a few minutes for a delicious treat.
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