Pink Lettuce Is The Photo-Friendly Vegetable Flooding Feeds Right Now
by Amanda Kludt, Eater New York
Posted: 2018-02-27 09:01:31 EST

Last week at Soho restaurant King, the lunch menu featured a salad of soft pink radicchio leaves smothered in ricotta and marjoram and studded with warm walnuts. About 30 blocks north, a preview dinner at soon to open Legacy Records the next day included a salad of pink radicchio paired with sweet potatoes, radishes, and dill. Meanwhile, shoppers at the Williamsburg, Brooklyn Whole Foods Instagrammed videos of shelves lined with rose-like balls of chicory throughout this past weekend. It showed up in staff meal at Cafe Altro Paradiso yesterday and on the Instagrams of Cafe Cluny chef Sherry Cardoso and Yellow Magnolia Cafe’s Morgan Fairchild earlier this month.

Pink lettuce — millennial lettuce?? — has taken over New York grocers and restaurant plates. What is it, what does it taste like, and why is it going to be everywhere for the next four weeks?

What is this beautiful thing?

It’s Radicchio del Veneto — also called La Rosa del Veneto — a pink chicory mostly grown in the Veneto region of Italy but now cultivated in California, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. While everyday radicchio (the Italian word for chicory) is available year-round, many more complex varieties emerge in the late winter and early spring. The radicchio is “forced,” meaning it’s grown for a certain amount of time and harvested in the fall, replanted, and grown in the dark, often covered by sand, so sunlight doesn’t reach the stem.

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