Of all the spicy dishes there are in this world, salad does not generally come to mind. That’s why I had to chuckle when my friend’s young son declared his salad “Waayyyy tooooo spicyyyy, Mom!” With all the gorgeous radishes available right now, I guess we went a bit overboard.
When I was a child, radishes were used in restaurants as garnishes, which were often pushed to the side and never eaten. What a waste! In my humble opinion, many a garnish is far healthier and tastier than the other food on the plate. Lucky for me, my Mom was a huge radish fan. She would eat them raw with her lunch and she especially loved them with a sandwich.
The radish is an edible root and a member of the Cruciferous vegetable family. It was originally domesticated in Europe during the pre-Roman era. These days, radishes are grown and enjoyed all over the world. They come in a rainbow of colors including red, white, purple and black. Some are small and round and some, such as the Japanese daikon, are long and cylindrical. They range in flavor from mild to very spicy, peppery and pungent. Although there are many varieties, most of us in the U.S. are familiar with the round, red version. They make an excellent accompaniment to many dishes and, unbeknownst to the masses, are absolutely delicious when cooked or pickled!
I say now’s the time to relish the radish and spark a revival! Start here with my terrific tips and remarkable recipes:
- Eat them alone as a crunchy snack or dip them in your favorite salad dressing.
- Cut them up and stir into cottage cheese or ricotta cheese. Great with parsley, celery, chives and a pinch of sea salt.
- Slice them thinly and serve them over lightly buttered whole grain bread or crackers.
- Add them to salads of all sorts. Here’s a recipe for Crisp Fennel and Radish Salad.
- Pair them perfectly with just about any baby green including spinach and arugula. Here’s one of my favorite recipes using Daikon for Asian Greens Salad with Ginger Miso Dressing.
- Stir them raw into hot cooked grain dishes.
- Try them with hummus and tabouli.
- Make whole grain salads with your favorite veggies and chopped radish. Don’t forget the leaves!
- Steam or sauté them; serve with a bit of butter or your favorite sauce.
- Stir them into tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, and crab or shrimp salad. Here’s a Crab Salad with Lemon Dressing.
- Serve them over crackers topped with cream cheese.
- Braise them with a bit of broth, tamari and sesame oil. Then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Or, grate them raw with just a dash of tamari and a drop of toasted sesame oil.
- Add them to pasta salad. Here’s an idea for Spring Pasta Salad with Escarole, Radishes and Peas.
- Sauté radish slices; add to green beans, broccoli or zucchini. Or try this idea for Sugar Snap Peas with Radishes.
- Pickle them like in this recipe for Pickled Watermelon Rind with Radishes or like in these Vietnamese Quick Pickled Vegetables.
- Slice and add to sandwiches or falafel.
- Add chopped or grated radishes to coleslaw. Here’s an idea for Thai Style Grilled Fish Tacos with Slaw.
- Serve as a condiment alongside hamburgers, turkey burgers or veggie burgers.
- Juice them with other veggies. For a “spicy” blend, try apple, radish and celery juice. Throw in some kale for spinach for a boost of great health and taste!
When shopping, choose firm radishes with no bruising or blemishes. The leaves should be green, not yellow! Be sure to remove the leaves and store the radish roots in a plastic bag. Keep them refrigerated for up to seven days. For an extra cool crunch, soak radishes in ice water for an hour or so before serving.
Do you relish the radish? Got a really remarkable recipe? Let me know!