A Gift of Radicchio

I think a lot about vegetables lately – because I need quite a bit, and they are expensive in Wyoming. I am often surprised at how the Lord answers prayers, and try to make the most of it even when the answer isn’t what I really wanted.

I went out this morning to check to see if the strawberries we planted last summer were greening up yet – a friend said theirs were, and I was surprised because it is early for Wyoming. We had a mild winter though, even finding spinach plants that had managed to winter over – quite a few, in fact, and discovering more every day. The grass and dandelions are already making a comeback in the garden – the weeds grow long after the edible greens die, and they come back sooner in the spring too. So weeding starts before the ground is even fully thawed it seems.

Today, in last summer’s lettuce beds, I found some red heads poking up from the dirt. A plant that had grown leafy last summer was forming small tight heads – distinctly red with white veins. Close inspection and a nibble on a leaf proved it to be Radicchio.

I hate Radicchio. But I had prayed for vegetables, and here was Radicchio – something I had not intentionally planted, would have pulled if I had seen it last summer, and certainly did not ask for now. Our mesclun mix has 6 things I like, and three that I do not like. I do not like curly endive either, but it is distinctive enough to yank out the minute the leaves start to frill, and the arugula that makes me gag is also easily recognizable early on, and therefore erradicated without hesitation. The Radicchio had been green and red last summer, and had disguised itself as red lettuce, thereby escaping extermination.

Now I knew it for what it was. It is early spring. It will be many months before we have vegetables in the garden. It will be weeks before the plants in my indoor hydroponic system bear anything worth mention. Here was this vegetable, volunteering to grow NOW. Pickable and eatable, NOW. It demanded respect… and it plead for me to acknowledge that I had asked, and had been given.

I do not like Broccoli Raab really either. But it grows fast, and produces well out here. I find I can tolerate it, even come to enjoy it, if it is steamed, rinsed, and then sauteed in garlic butter. It has a similar flavor to Radicchio – sharp, bitter. If Broccoli Raab, then why not Radicchio?

So I searched out recipes – many of which made me want to cook more! One of which I have the ingredients for (important when many call for items I’ve never even seen in the local grocery stores), and which I can actually eat (many call for cured meats or cheeses that I cannot have), and which I think I can whip up and enjoy with dinner.

So I am heading to the garden to harvest some of the unexpected Radicchio, hoping I can like the gift I have been given. Trying my best to make lemonade of lemons.

2 Responses to A Gift of Radicchio

  • What an awesome point of view! I hated my weeds last year but now I am beginning to appreciate them, especially the dandelions, which apparently are prized for their health benefits.

    Things I learn change my perspective! Ever know someone who, maybe you didn’t like them so much, until you learned more about them?

  • Laura says:

    Harvest the dandelion leaves while they are small, before the flower stalks start to come up. They are, unfortunately, bitter, but not so much as radicchio! You can eat them fresh on salads (combine with Romaine and Sprouts), or you can cook them as you would spinach.

    If you cook them, a little garlic and butter can soften the flavor, or if you prefer, a little vinegar tossed on it provides a nice flavor contrast. One or the other though, not both!


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