Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Verona Red Radicchio

Here is one of my newest favorites that I did  about a month ago, Verona Red Radicchio:

This beautiful veggie just lends itself to painting with it's deep burgundy leaves juxtaposed against the white curvy veins. As I was painting it my friend, Ali, asked me what is radicchio? What is it related to? And well, it's funny. It seems a lot like red cabbage, but it's not the same thing. It is a chicory, sometimes known as Italian chicory, which seems strange to me as it looks so far from those purple flowers out in fields or by the road with their long, green, serrated leaves. And while you might cook up a cabbage and eat it sauteed or with corned beef, you would probably just eat radicchio in a salad.
Here is something really interesting that I just read in a New York Times article. (Of course, it is only interesting to me because I have never grown it before.)
"Like Belgian endive, Verona and Treviso radicchios are the products of a complicated cultivation. After the first heads are grown they are cut back, leaving only a root from which a new head forms in the cold and dark of a growing shed.
In the process, endive turns white and radicchio turns dark red, its white veins standing out in gaudy splendor. If radicchio is not grown in this way, all a gardener will get for his or her troubles are long, thin, dark-green and very bitter leaves. The second growing, called blanching, also produces a waxy leaf with a comparatively mild flavor."