Sunday, 23 June 2024

(Could grill it)

There’s a shop in Venice that sells ceramic vegetables, not far from the Accademia bridge. You can get anything: violet artichokes, tender fingers of asparagus, a stripy harlequin squash. It’s a cornucopia of vegetal delights, a little enclosed Eden. When I went last summer, I only had eyes for one thing: cicoria rossa, my favourite vegetable. The artist had immortalized not the chubby ball form of chicory (yuck) but rather the beautiful slender Treviso chicory, which grows in Veneto. I love its elegant shape, but more than that, I love the colour palette, its barred maroon and white livery. You could grill it with polenta and parmesan, or bake it under a comforting blanket of béchamel, or eat it raw with a tumble of Parma ham, a sumptuous pink feast. Buy the seeds from Franchi if you want to grow your own, or better yet go to Venice and get the permanent artefact, in season no matter what time of year.

From Fantastic Man n° 38 — 2024
Text by OLIVIA LAING