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Aug 2, 2005 05:56 PM

Radicchio that's not bitter and nasty

  • d

OK, I'll admit it: I hate radicchio. Maybe it's a hangover from when I was lonely and living in Italy and it was a huge part of every salad, but to me it's bitter as remorse, or bile--take your metaphorical pick. That said, I got a big head of it in my CSA veggie box today. Since I don't want to waste it or eat it raw, how can I cook it so it doesn't taste like medicine? I don't have an outdoor grill or grillpan, so grilling, alas, is out. Any suggestions appreciated!

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  1. We rarely put radicchio into our CSA baskets, I don't want to field the phone calls from folks asking why their 'lettuce' is so bitter. I'm also not a fan of radicchio salad, but my husband loves it.

    I've had two successful ways to deal with radicchio if you don't like the bitter salad thing: chop it up and cook it with lots of onions slowly, til it's browned and melted down. This makes an excellent pasta topping. Version #2 is find a friend who does like radicchio salad and gift it over...


    Verona Radicchio:


    1. f

      Drizzle it with olive oil, s&P and roast it at 400 to 450 until wilted and browned. Let it rest out of the oven for a few minutes, then serve with a drizzle of your best balsamic vinegar.

      2 Replies
      1. re: farmersdaughter

        i love radicchio cooked this way.

        also - check out the zuni cafe cookbook. there is a fantastic recipe in there for a radicchio salad which is dressed with an anchovy vinaigrette and tossed with seasoned bread crumbs and sieved hard-boiled egg.

        1. re: queue

          Ah, that sounds great! And I just opened up a can of anchovies for caponata, so that will be perfect...I even have that cookbook already!

      2. I've made a lovely radicchio risotto - I think it's from a vegetarian cookbook, but I've heard that Marcella Hazan does one as well. It imparts a beautiful winey color to the risotto with a very subtle flavor.

        1. Cook it as chardgirl suggest and then add it to a risotto, with some apple for sweetness.

          1. Try tossing it with olive oil and lemon juice and let it wilt a bit (leaving it out or in the fridge). I can't explain it scientifically, but lemon juice mellows bitter greens (and purples in this case).

            1 Reply
            1. re: butterfly

              Bitterness and "hot"-ness in vegetables is I think always from an alkaline substance - mustard made with water is hotter than mustard made with vinegar. That was why my grandma put a cruet of vinegar on the table when serving spinach or other greens, even though her usual canned spinach hardly needed mellowing. Lemon juice would naturally do the same.