Inventory, 12 ct : 0.75
This item was last sold on : 01/10/17
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Castelfranco has a bitter flavor but it is much milder with sweet undertones. The round heads are uniquely colored, each butter-yellow leave is dotted with spots and veins varying in color from burgundy-red to pale-violet. Individual heads are rose or flower-shaped, with the leaves folding over each other. While all the leaves of the Castelfranco are edible, it is the uniquely colored central head that is the most desirable. When growing Castelfranco the color of this central head can be blanched further by placing a container over the heads and allowing to grow for a few days in the dark or in more advanced farming situations by use of the imbiancamento method.
Castelfranco radicchio has limited availability in the winter months.
Castelfranco radicchio is an heirloom Italian winter crop botanically known as Cichorium intybus. A member of the Asteraceae family Castelfranco radicchio is a cross between Escarole and radicchio Trevisano. Also known as Radicchio de Castelfranco in its native Italy and by the nicknames Edible Flower, Orchid Lettuce and Winter Rose, a nod to the way it resembles a flower as the lettuce shaped ball of leaves naturally unfold.
Castelfranco raddichio is tender and mild enough to be served raw and may be added to fresh green salads. Like other bitter raddichios it works well in cooked applications as well such as soups, pizzas and risotto or served sautéed on its own as a side dish. Its bitter flavor marries well with citrus juice, olive oil, balsamic and red wine vinegar, garlic, mushrooms, pancetta, parmigiano reggiano cheese, anchovies, black pepper and fennel.
Originating in the 17th century Castelfranco raddichio is named after the Northern Italian town of Castelfranco Veneto where it was first cultivated. The region of Veneto in Italy is known for its radicchio production with each town in the region being specialized in growing their own specific type. A method to develop some raddichios such as Castelfranco’s unique coloring known as imbiancamento (forced whitening) was first developed in 1860 by Belgian agronomist Francesco Van Den Borre. A complicated process, imbiancamento involves early harvest of Castelfranco then packing the trimmed heads into mesh baskets and storing in a darkened room. The roots are then allowed to soak in circulating spring water kept at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The process takes several days during which time the leaves take on their signature red-purple variegations. Castelfranco can also successfully be grown in the home garden without use of the imbiancamento method provided it is given regular, moderate watering and mild to cool temperatures.
Recipes that include Castelfranco. One is easiest, three is harder.
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