Seed Saving: Beginner
Red Ribbed Catalonia (Cychorium intybus)
Red Ribbed Catalonia (Cychorium Intybus): this variety is mainly grown for consumption. It has an erect posture but the stalks do not develop too much. It differs from the common Catalonia because of the intense red colour of the stalks and less bitter taste.
Catalonia can be harvested several times by cutting the head at the base so that it can grow again. The sowing can be carried out in seedbed from June to October in Southern Italy. It adapts to all terrains but it is recommended to avoid water stagnation. It prefers a rich soil, and it is useful to alternate it in those parts of the garden fertilized for spring crops. It is used in many recipes, boiled, sautéed, for pasta dressings, and even baked.
The Catalonia has incredible nutritional properties, it is low in calories (100 gr per 10 kcal), rich in iron, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, B2 and B3; it’s perfect for a diverse and complete vegetable garden. The plant is biennial, to get the seeds you have to led some seedlings grow until the spring after the sowing, be careful to cover the plants with non-woven fabric if temperatures approach 0º.
Cooking the Catalonia:
This vegetable can be used in many recipes, we describe a very easy one below
Catalonia sautéed with anchovies and chilli peppers (4 servings)
1 kg clean Catalonia, a few garlic cloves, olive oil (as much as you like), some pepper and anchovies.
Clean the Catalonia by removing the hardest and woodiest parts at the base of the head. Separate the stalks and wash them carefully to remove earth and any bugs.
The next step is to boil it. Cut the stalks to the desired length and put them in boiling water until they soften, no more than 6-8 min, depending on the size of the stalks. In the meantime, sauté the freshly crushed garlic (do not remove the skin) and the peppers with the oil, leave it until the garlic releases an intense odor, then remove it to prevent it from becoming bitter; add the anchovies and let them dissolve in the very hot oil.
Drain the Catalonia and squeeze it a little, the less water, the more intense the flavor and crunchy consistency. Then sautée it in the mixture of oil, garlic, and peppers at hight heat, keep steering so the seasoning is well distribuited. Add salt.
This preparation takes about 15 min or less. It is a good side dish, and can also be used on toast.