In the kitchen
It is best eaten as fresh as possible, but will keep happily in the fridge for at least a week.
Prep & Cooking tips
Discard any sad-looking outer leaves, and chop, tear or slice as you require. If you are cooking or baking it then you may want to cut it into more generous chunks; for folding into slaws or mixing into salads, try shredding it widthways as finely as you can.
Video: Veg hacks - Bitterleaves (Pain de sucre & Radicchio)
Perfect as a salad leaf if mixed with a balance of milder leaves. If using on its own, a sharp punchy dressing is key. A vinaigrette with plenty of balsamic or cider vinegar and a generous blob of mustard is perfect. Try chopping or grinding a few anchovy fillets and rosemary leaves together before thinning with some lemon juice and oil to make a suitably forthright dressing.
Try adding a handful of shredded leaves to a winter stew or broth as a finishing touch. Make sure the broth has a deep savoury flavour and consider finishing with a little salty cheese and a squeeze of lemon to carry the strong taste.
Try chopping into generous chunks and wilting slightly in a pan with a little salt, brown sugar and lemon juice. Make a white sauce seasoned liberally with cheese and mustard, as you would for a cauliflower cheese. Cover the wilted leaf in the sauce, top with breadcrumbs and bake until golden.
Goes well with
Cheese (blue, parmesan, goat's)
Crème fraîche Eggs
Nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts)
Pork (bacon, ham)
Sweet fruits (apple, fig, pear, persimmon, poached quince)
Vinegar (especially sweet ones - balsamic, sherry)
Pain de sucre recipes
Pain de sucre with lemon, anchovy & mustard dressing
Serves: 4 Total time: 5 min
Pain de sucre, egg & bacon salad with a warm vinaigrette
Serves: 2 Total time: 15 min
Fried padron peppers (Pimientos de Padrón tapas)
Serves: 4 Total time: 15 min
Hasselback potatoes with roast garlic and rosemary
Serves: 4 Total time: 1h 10 min
Sausage, borlotti and apple casserole with spring greens
Serves: 2 Total time: 35 min
Puttanesca steak and parmesan mash
Serves: 2 Total time: 30 min