Official Italian government designation: Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco IGT. Truly sorry it looks something like a dirty, blood-flecked diaper.
If you’re a seeker-out of strange and beautiful salad greens, perhaps burned out on the usual lettuces, cabbages, and kales, think about visiting Eataly in the near future. Because there you can score a head of an unusual radicchio.
Radicchio is generally purplish, with alabaster-white veins, right? With a slightly bitter taste and cabbage-y texture.
Well, this cream-colored radicchio has lovely tomato-tinted splotches, and spreads out like a head of Boston lettuce, rather than keeping itself in a tight, slim configuration.
The leaves are softer, too, but retain the same bitterness as the more common form.
The shape and softness of the leaf encourages you to use it as the main player in a salad, rather than a counterpoint. Try using a mustard vinaigrette with plenty of chopped shallots, and keep the oil-to-vinegar ratio high, so that the leaves become thoroughly coated with the dressing.
This form of radicchio hails from a region near Venice, and it sure perks up a winter salad!
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 26, 2012