Radicchio… you either love it, or you hate it.
I LOVE IT!
Radicchio (Chichorium intybus) is a member of the daisy or sunflower family (Asteraceae, or Compositae).
Some common varieties of this family of lettuces are chicory and endive. I’m sure you’ve seen these interesting lettuces in the grocery store or at the farmers market. They come in a variety of colors – green, purple, and yellow too. Some are round (like radicchio) and others are long and thin (like endive and chicory). But, they all have one thing in common… they are BITTER!
And, that’s why folks either love it or hate it.
The bitter flavor is health supportive, especially for the heart, liver and digestive system.
According to A Curious History of Vegetables, by Wolf Storl, chicory, radicchio and endive lettuces have many healing properties: lowers blood lipids, reduces cholesterol, improves cardiac health, detoxifies the intestines, promotes urination (diuretic) and is ideal for the liver and gall bladder. I’d say those are all good reasons to eat it.
I like to toss radicchio with sweet flavored foods, like apple and fennel, to make it even more nourishing and delicious. Plus, tossing it with other fruits and veggies can even make it palatable for the folks that can’t stand to eat it.
The recipe below supports heart health, digestive health and liver health. Plus, it tastes really good. So, give it a taste and let me know what you think. Love it, or hate it…
- 1 head of radicchio (Chichorium intybus), sliced thin
- 1 fennel bulb (Foeniculum vulgare), sliced thin
- 1 apple, cored and diced
- 1 tbsp. rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. local honey
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Chop radicchio into bite sized pieces
- Peel or discard outer leaf of fennel, and remove stalks
- Slice fennel bulb thinly
- Core apple and cut into thin matchsticks
- Toss radicchio, fennel and apple in salad bowl
- Put rosemary, garlic, mustard, honey, vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper into a blender or food processor and blend until creamy.
- Drizzle on salad and toss
 A Curious History of Vegetables, by Wolf D. Storl, North Atlantic Books 2016, Pg. 85-91