“It’s too bitter for me! No thanks.”
- Cicorino Rosso, also known as radicchio, was cultivated as the “common chicory”.
- The first new varieties, particularly the Radicchio Rosso di Chioggia type, were first grown in 1985 mainly in Italy (hence the name).
- The daisy family with a round, firm “crown”, dark red leaves, and white “ribs” is aromatic and has a mild-to-medium bitter taste.
- Cicorino Rosso is rich in trace elements, vitamins, and minerals when served as a salad or vegetable dish.
- Its season in Switzerland lasts from June to February.
- It’s an exceptional treat, both raw and roasted or as a grilled vegetable.
Bitter? It won’t be a problem with good preparation.
Cicorino Rosso salads or vegetables typically contain the bitter substance lactucopicrine, which is beneficial for digestion. It stimulates gastric juices and bile, promotes salivation, and has a diuretic effect. In addition, the real star component of this plant is carotenoids. Its mineral content includes calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron, B vitamins, vitamin C, and folic acid. The free radicals found in the plant, which produce antioxidant substance, protect against cancer, strengthen the heart, and promote circulation. Cicorino Rosso is, hence, very healthy.
When prepared correctly, Cicorino Rosso can be a treat for the palate. For instance, it tastes best as base for pasta and as a main ingredient in numerous healthy winter salad variations.
If, however, you don’t like bitter foods, you can chop Cicorino Rosso and soak it in warm vinegar water for a quarter of an hour. Next, drain the bowl and fill it with cold water. Repeat two or three times. Before making the salad, you can leave it in cold water for a few hours. It dries well using a salad sling. If necessary, dry further on a kitchen towel. And when covered in a salad sling, the leaves stay wonderfully fresh in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Use in pumpkin salad sauce
In addition to balsamic vinaigrette dressings, Frowner recommends pumpkin salad sauce. You can use your French sauce as a base. Season to taste and mix with some chives, parsley, and pumpkin puree (see Frowner’s pumpkin soup). The slightly sweet taste of pumpkin softens the bitter taste of Cicorino Rosso. There are also ready-made pumpkin salad dressings available in supermarkets (Migros).
Cicorino Rosso salad is a real culinary delight when sprinkled with cumin, tree or pecan nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, fresh pineapple or mango slices, and green olives.
When making a vegetable side dish or serving them with pasta, you can first steam thinly sliced shallots in olive oil and some whiskey in a frying pan. Add Cicorino Rosso leaves (slightly fry or cook as you like), season with pasta spices, and a little chili. Other ingredient variations in your recipe include cherry or date tomatoes, pepperoni, zucchini, some chili sauce, etc. There are no limits!