Radicchio 'Rouge de Verona'
This beautiful type of radicchio falls into the Endive group, a popular genus of perennial leafy green and red vegetable plants native to the Mediterranean region. Before we get down to it, I’ll briefly mention the confusion surrounding the naming of these plants. The terms ‘endive’ and ‘chicory’ are often used interchangeably across different species depending on what part of the world you find yourself in. What the US refers to as endive, parts of Europe know as chicory; what the US refers to as chicory is known in other areas as endive. For the sake of simplicity, we will focus on a type of chicory known as “radicchio,” a compact, red leafed strain that is grown for culinary use. Other varieties of chicory include green leafed heads that resemble radicchios, and larger, 2-to-4-foot weeds that decorate roadsides with light blue flowers in summer.
‘Rouge de Verona’ features deep rosy red leaves in compact, cabbage-like heads at full maturity. Younger plants display bright green leave with beautiful red variegation. This color pattern is shown in the featured image of our own radicchio plants.
It is recommended that red leaf chicories be sown in mid to late summer, about ½’’ deep and 3’’ apart. Planting during the warmer seasons will allow the plant to mature as the temperature cools through the fall and winter. Radicchios should be planted in full sun and watered regularly. According to The New Sunset Western Garden Book, this hardy plant can be grown successfully in all climate zones.
Let’s chat about culinary uses of radicchio! As the leaves darken with age, the characteristic bitterness fades slightly so heads should be harvested only after reaching maturity (80-85 days). Tracing its culinary roots to its country of origin, ‘Rouge de Verona’ is often prepared using the Italian method of grilling with olive oil. As with other bitter deep green leaves (like swiss chard), grilling sweetens the flavor. Occasionally the root of ‘Rogue de Verona’ is used as an addition to coffee. Radicchio is an exceptional source of fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamin K. I recommend looking up grilled radicchio recipes – you’ll find an overwhelming amount of inspiration for your next cooking endeavor!
We are currently growing radicchio ‘Rouge de Verona’ here at Clearwater Color in 4.5’’ pots. To learn more about this plant and the many others we grow, give us a call, visit our Facebook and Instagram, or check out our website at clearwatercolor.com – we post our updated availability every week on Friday afternoons!