Pink radicchio is all the rage right now and I can't get enough of this trendy produce! Fancier than traditional radicchio, pink radicchio is more mild, less bitter, and almost sweet in flavor with a soft butter lettuce-like bite. When my produce box arrived full of gorgeous millennial pink colored radicchio, I couldn't believe my eyes! I had never seen such a beautiful vegetable and I was so excited to taste, experiment, and study this delicate ingredient. I can't wait to share all my pink radicchio research and discoveries with you, let's get this radicchi-licious party started!
Ingredient Guide: Pink Radicchio
Pink radicchio is an exciting food trend that is here to stay. Let's pull back the Instagram curtain and shed some light on this mysterious pink vegetable. I want you to be able to get this unique produce sent straight to your kitchen, so you can prepare, taste, and love this beautiful radicchio as much as I do! Use this comprehensive ingredient guide to find out where to buy pink radicchio, what it tastes like, and how to use it in recipes.
Season: Mid-Winter to Early Spring
Where can I buy pink radicchio?
Pink radicchio can be purchased online and will arrive straight to your doorstep in just a few days! I bought my produce in the early Spring (prime season for this specialty crop) from Alma Gourmet and it was sent straight to my kitchen from Italy, within two days. Don't want to buy online? If you live in the New York City area, this trendy pink lettuce has been spotted at Eataly, a few Whole Foods Markets, and occasionally at some local farmers markets. I image they go pretty fast at the markets when in season!
Where is pink radicchio grown and harvested?
This special variety of radicchio is mostly grown in Northern Italy, where the cool winter weather helps develop this crops unique characteristics. While there are quite a few specialty radicchio farms in Northern Italy, in the US there are only a small number of farms, like Pennsylvania's Camporosso Farm. Limited seed variations and unpredictable weather have dampened the US crop from being mass produced, so for now Italy remains the largest producer. This popular specialty produce might be more widely grown in the US when the viable seed varieties become more available but as of now, it's still a few years away.
How does pink radicchio develop its unique color?
The beautiful pink color is cultivated in two different ways - 1) Traditional planting and harvesting methods where the radicchio is grown and picked when the pink color is pronounced. 2) Forcing, where the plant is initially grown in a traditional way, then is uprooted and moved to a dark environment where it finishes the growing process without any light. When pink radicchio is grown in a forced way, the leaves become very soft and silky.
What does pink radicchio taste like?
Unlike traditional radicchio, which has a bold bitter flavor, pink radicchio is more mild and soft, with hints of sweet and sharp flavors. The texture of the leaves can vary depending on how the radicchio is grown. As mentioned above, radicchio grown using the forced method has the softest leaves, similar in texture and structure as butter lettuce.
How do you store pink radicchio?
Place your pink radicchio in a plastic bag along with a paper towel and refrigerate for up to five days. If the leaves become wilted or limp, swap out the paper towel for a new lightly dampened paper towel, wrapping the damp paper towel over the head of the radicchio, then reseal the bag and place back in the fridge.
What's the best way to eat pink radicchio?
The best way to enjoy this millennial pink produce is either by cutting up the circular leaves for a chopped salad or keeping the leaves whole and eating them in a lettuce cup style with each cup full of salad toppings. Depending on how sturdy your leaves are, you could also grill the head of radicchio in ¼ pieces, making a grilled wedge style salad. Yum!
Complimenting Flavor Ingredients
Because its flavor is more mild than traditional bitter radicchio, any complementing salad ingredients would be a perfect addition to your pink radicchio recipe. King, a New York City restaurant, dresses their pink radicchio salad with bold flavors like marjoram, warm nuts, and ricotta cheese. Cafe Altro Paradiso, also in New York City, suggests ingredient pairings of lemon zest, vinegar, and an egg; proving that this millennial pink ingredient is so versatile and can withstand a variety of flavor combinations.
Are there other cool radicchio varieties I should know about?
Yes! Whether you've seen these varieties at the store or not, they're worth checking out. Variegated of Lusia is a beautiful creamy white and yellow radicchio with pink freckles dotted all over. Variegated of Castelfranco is a similarly pink spotted radicchio except the leaf color is more yellow and the pink spots look like paint brush splatters. Treviso Tardivo is a maroon and white colored radicchio with long and slender finger-like leaves, almost resembling a claw. How cool?
Nicknames and Common Names for Pink Radicchio
Pink lettuce, pink chicory, millennial pink radicchio, Radicchio del Veneto, La Rosa del Vento, and Rosa Radicchio.