For all the people who are happy with a little bitterness in their lives, we have radicchio recipes by the score. A member of the chicory family, radicchio has distinctive pink-red leaves with white veins. Its firm, cup-shaped leaves have a strongly bitter taste (though not quite as bitter as chicory).
More radicchio recipes
There are different varieties of radicchio from the large round lettuce-shaped radicchio chioggia to the slender stalky treviso. Most common in the UK is red chicory, an endive-shaped small radicchio. Castelfranco is a white, round radicchio and worth seeking out. Radicchio is in season during the autumn and spring, but is often farmed over the winter too, making it a fantastic winter salad option.
Store in the fridge for up to a week, but as with all leaves, it's best used when fresh.
Radicchio is generally used in salads mixed with other salad leaves. In its native Italy it is often served shredded. Alternatively, tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Raddichio is also brilliant served warm, griddled over a high heat briefly to char the edges and enhance its bittersweet flavours. Countering the bitter leaves with sweetness or creaminess, as in Nigella's radicchio and blue cheese salad, is very popular.