Cicorino is a plant which belongs to the chicory family, as radicchio, wild chicory (such as dandelions), Belgian endive, endive and many other vegetables that we eat every day. Most of them have a slightly bitter taste, but always aromatic and pleasant.
The various Chicories are varieties of the Cichorium intybus species belonging to the Composite family. They have rosette basal leaves and rounded or elongated leaves with a smooth margin and colors ranging from light to dark green and also red-leaf varieties.
CICORINO NUTRITIONAL PROPERTIES
Both wild and cultivated chicory are rich in minerals (such as potassium, calcium and iron) and vitamins (vitamins B, C and K contained in both the leaves and roots), beta-carotene and inulin.
They have diuretic and purifying properties (useful to counteract water retention), regulate the functions of the intestine, liver and kidneys, favoring the secretion of bile (thanks to the presence of a bitter principle, cicoric acid) and diuresis with a consequent purifying and general detoxifying effect, which can be noticed in the appearance of the skin.
Thanks to its properties, it helps regulate the amount of glucose and cholesterol in the blood; it is therefore a particularly valuable food for those suffering from diabetes or high cholesterol.
The root contains inulin, a soluble fiber often used in food supplements which favors digestion and regulates intestinal function.CICORINO RECIPES
Chicory is mainly used in the kitchen and in the pharmaceutical field, thanks to its innumerable properties. The leaves are mainly used, fresh or cooked in the kitchen, while for medicinal purposes the roots are mainly used.
As well as being healthy, cicorino is also very tasty and combines well with many other foods. It is usually eaten raw, so it can be a side for boiled eggs, diced boiled potatoes, anchovy fillets or tuna in oil and fresh onions.
It is also excellent paired with a fruit salad, creating a truly beneficial vitamin mix. Cicorino, diced apples and walnuts or almonds is a truly unusual and delicious combination.
Cicorino can also be enjoyed cooked as a condiment for pasta, such as tagliatelle seasoned with sautéed cicorino with garlic and chili pepper and combined with fresh tomatoes; can be used to stuff meat, especially chicken or pies, pizzas and focaccia. It also goes very well with legumes. Like chicory also cicorino is very tasty simply sautéed in a pan with garlic and chili.
Clam chowder with sautéed cicorino
Ingredients for 2 people
500 gr. of veracious clams
3 bunches of cicorino
2 chili peppers
3 cloves of red garlic
1/2 glass of dry white wine
parsley, 3 bunches
sliced Altamura or Tuscan bread
salt and extra virgin olive oil
Soak the clams in water and salt for a couple of hours. Rinse the clams well to remove all the sand. Wash and steam cook the vegetables.
In a large saucepan, add a drizzle of oil with a garlic clove and a chili pepper, pressing well with a wooden spoon. Add the clams, half a glass of wine and cover immediately, allowing the shellfish to open. Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan with a garlic clove and the remaining chili pepper, shortly afterwards add the steamed cicorino, just long enough to absorb the flavor. Toast the slices of bread, while warm rub them with the remaining garlic clove. Arrange the dish quickly: a few slices of bread, the clams with their sauce and the cicorino.