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Published: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 4:45:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 4:54:21 PM

Radicchio by Vicenzo Patruno

According to Vicenzo Patruno, the best way to prepare radicchio is to put it in cold water for an hour to remove all of the bitterness.

According to Vicenzo Patruno, the best way to prepare radicchio is to put it in cold water for an hour to remove all of the bitterness.

A master chef talks about his favourite ingredient in the ‘One chef, one ingredient’ series.

Viola head chef Vincenzo Patruno shares his passion for radicchio, the bitter, dark red lettuce. Viola is a reference when it comes to fine Italian eateries in Paris.

What led you to choose this ingredient?

This is a seasonal ingredient that can be prepared in a variety of ways. Radicchio is very bitter, and bitterness is an element I enjoy working with. Furthermore, it is not particularly well-known in France. It is a real star in Italy.

What is your best kitchen memory associated with this ingredient?

I came to know radicchio when I worked in Venice. With some colleagues, we decided to leave Venice for a weekend and attend the "Sagra del radicchio de Castelfranco," a village festival where all types of radicchio were presented. Everyone was experimenting with the ingredient by putting it in soups, braising it in vinegar, etc.  

When is this ingredient in season?

From October to January.

What is the best way to prepare it? Can you share a recipe?

The best way is to offer it raw with a dumpling made from Emilia Romagna squash (with its nutty flavour). Since radicchio is bitter, it does not require oil or salt. The essential is in the ingredient itself.

What other ingredients can be combined with radicchio to delight and surprise the taste buds? What are the most common mistakes made when preparing this ingredient?

With chestnuts for the sweet note, and, for those who enjoy bolder and more pronounced tastes, with porcini mushrooms. In terms of combining it with meat, it is important to choose very flavourful meats such as lamb. Common mistakes: radicchio must not be cooked too much, as it loses its water and becomes too bitter. The best way to prepare it is to put it in cold water for an hour to remove all of the bitterness.

How do you offer this ingredient on your current menu?

Lamb filet two ways with Treviso radicchio and Emilia Romagna squash.

What wine (or other alcohol) is best married with this ingredient?

Denavolo "Dinavolino" white wine from Emilia Romagna. – AFP Relaxnews

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Vicenzo Patruno, Radicchio, One chef, one ingredient

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