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Best Thing to Buy, Best Way to Eat it—Now!

February 5, 2014

In Season: Radicchio’s peak season lasts from January to April, although most specialty grocers carry it year-round.

What to Look For: This member of the chicory family comes in several varieties, with two types being most widely available in the United States: Treviso and Verona. Treviso leaves are oblong with pointed ends and grow in small, tightly packed heads. Verona radicchio grows in loosely packed round heads similar in shape to butter lettuce. Both varieties have purple leaves with white ribs. Choose radicchio with crisp leaves and no brown spots.

How to Store: Keep radicchio in a tightly sealed bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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Radicchio, Goat Cheese, and Hazelnut Salad

Radicchio is matched with a perfectly balanced dressing made of extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sugar in this easy yet elegant salad. Fresh goat cheese and your choice of toasted nuts — hazelnuts, almonds, or walnuts — add creaminess and crunch.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 heads radicchio (about 1 pound total), torn
1/3 cup blanched hazelnuts or almonds, or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (4 ounces)

1. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and sugar; season with salt and pepper. Add radicchio and hazelnuts and toss to combine. Serve salad topped with cheese.

Sauteed Radicchio with Honey and Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar and honey soften the bite of radicchio. This side dish is a great match for roast meats or Italian sausage.

2 heads radicchio, cored and torn into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey

1. Rinse radicchio (leave some water still clinging to leaves). In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add radicchio and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add vinegar and honey and stir to combine.

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Radicchio and Mushroom Chicken Roulade

A mixture of mushrooms, chicken liver, sage, Marsala wine, and radicchio is rolled up in pounded-thin chicken breasts to create an impressive main dish. The chicken roulades are served with roasted cipollini onions and sauteed mushrooms.

2 boneless, skinless chichen breast halves
Coarse salt
1 small head radicchio, cored, leaves separated
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms (half chopped, half cut into 1/2-inch thick slices)
1 chicken liver, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
10 cipollini or pearl onions, peeled
1/4 cup chicken stock

1. Using a chef’s knife and starting on 1 long side, slice open chicken horizontally, stopping about 1/2 inch before reaching opposite side. Open each like a book, and place between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with the flat side of a meat mallet to 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate in plastic until ready to use.

2. Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil; add 1 tablespoon salt. Add radicchio, and cook 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice-water bath to cool. Transfer radicchio to a plate lined with paper towels, and pat dry. Remove tough core from each leaf. Set radicchio aside.

3. Heat a medium saute pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon each butter and oil. Add shallots, and stir. Add chopped mushrooms, chicken liver, sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring, until liver is no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup Marsala, and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 30 seconds. Set aside to cool.

4. Remove top layer of plastic from chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Spread half the mushroom mixture over one breast, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Place 3 or 4 radicchio leaves over mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Using plastic wrap to lift and guide chicken, roll up; twist plastic at both ends. Repeat with remaining breast. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to 3).

5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Unwrap chicken bundles; tie with kitchen twine. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and the remaining tablespoon oil in an 8-inch ovenproof skillet over high heat. Place chicken, seam side up, in skillet. Add cipollini. Cook, turning chicken and stirring cipollini occasionally, until chicken is brown on all sides. Add remaining 1/4 cup Marsala and the stock. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 30 seconds.

6. Cover, and transfer pan to oven. Bake until chicken has cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken and cipollini to a plate. Wipe out pan; place over high heat. Add remaining tablespoon butter. Add sliced mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

7. Remove twine from chicken. Thinly slice chicken crosswise, and serve with cipollini and sauteed mushrooms.

Frisee and Radicchio Salad

Feathery light-green frisee and deep purple radicchio make a handsome pair in this robustly flavored salad. In addition to the easy red-wine vinegar and Dijon mustard dressing, you may toss in toasted nuts, chopped dried figs, or sliced pear.

1 large head frisee (about 14 ounces), trimmed
1 small head radicchio (about 10 ounces), halved and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Tear the frisee into bite-size pieces, and place in a large bowl with the radicchio; set aside.

2. Whisk together vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream; whisk until emulsified. Just before serving, drizzle vinaigrette over salad; toss gently.

Roasted Radicchio

The somewhat bitter flavor of radicchio becomes softer and sweeter after roasting. Before serving, each wedge of roasted radicchio is drizzled with balsamic vinegar and garnished with shavings of Parmesan cheese.

2 medium heads radicchio, quartered lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put radicchio wedges on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat, and turn each wedge so a cut side faces sheet. Roast, turning once, until leaves are wilted and slightly charred, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter.

2. Just before serving, drizzle vinegar over each wedge, and garnish with cheese shavings.

Arugula Salad with Figs, Pine Nuts, and Radicchio

Radicchio, arugula, and fresh figs make a gorgeous color combination. Serve this salad with roasted lamb or pan-seared steak.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 bunch (3 ounces) baby arugula
1 head radicchio, halved, cored, and cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/2 pound ripe fresh figs (about 8), stemmed and quartered
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1. In a large bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Add arugula, radicchio, figs, and pine nuts; toss to combine.

Radicchio Salad with Golden Raisins

Golden raisins provide a pleasing contrast of flavors and textures to the somewhat bitter radicchio in this salad. Sweetened lemon vinaigrette further softens the flavor of the radicchio and provides a refreshing touch.

2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup Lemon Vinaigrette
2 heads radicchio (about 1 pound total), quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup golden raisins
Coarse salt
Ground pepper

1. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and Lemon Vinaigrette. Add radicchio and cup golden raisins; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

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