Gnarly, and a beautiful shade of red-purple, radicchio tardiva is queen of the winter salad greens.
Found this lovely salad green at a several markets just before Christmas; bought some and used it in a salad brought to a party on Christmas Eve, to universal approbation.
Radicchio is an Italian variety of chicory, a bitter leaf vegetable beloved of the French (called “frisée”) often used in salad, but also sometimes used in powdered form in coffee as a cheaper substitute for coffee beans.
Radicchio is an Italian variety closer to endive in form, but with a distinctive red-purple color. The variety here called tardiva grows only in winter, and has fleshier stems.
The vegetable is crisp and only slightly bitter. It adds volume and interesting texture — just the qualities you want in a winter salad, when your choice of ingredients is limited. Use a thick and zesty dressing.
The vegetable as it appears in its tray
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 27, 2011