The Radish, one of the most underappreciated root vegetables is getting a lot of press. You could say it is in vogue for its potential beauty benefits and taste when paired properly. This month Bon Appetit featured the watermelon and french breakfast radishes in their magazine and has about 22 recipes online. Atlanta Magazine presented a radish and green garlic dip with grated radishes, mint leaves, and yogurt which will be refreshing in the summer heat.
I know many of you are wrinkling your nose at the thought of the peppery radish but it may behoove you to give this nutrient packed vegetable a second chance. Richard Bunn and Mike Tyburski, aka “The Radical Radish Reviewers” entertained the Morningside Market audience with fun facts about the radish and different varieties as well as made the pickled radish recipe below. They inspired me to write about this versatile vegetable.
Did you know the variety and terroir (land) imparts a unique flavor in the radish just like grapes for wine? The best ones are young and crisp; if they stay in the ground too long they have a sharper bite. The time of year also affects the spice since heat can increase the bitterness.
Some of the most popular radishes are the French Breakfast and Easter Egg. Watermelon radishes are stunning on a plate and I predict they will be showcased in many restaurants where the patrons are more adventuresome. At home, you can whip up a simple snack with softened, herb butter, gourmet salts and a fresh baguette. It truly is delicious. Try it with Back to Organic Black Italian Truffle salt or the Lemon Twist Himalayan.
Radishes provide a satisfying crunch as well as many health benefits. They are rich in vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Vitamin C helps your body produce collagen which makes you look younger as well as fights free radicals, inflammation and cancer. In fact, raw and mashed radishes soothe skin conditions and can be used as a face pack. Let me know if you try it.
The high fiber content and water content helps detox the liver and cleanse the body. Radishes can be used as a diuretic and alleviate urinary infections. They can also relieve congestion useful for individuals with asthma and sinus issues. After this horrible allergy season, more people may need to indulge in radishes to clear their sinuses.
Try to find Spanish black radishes for de-toxing. Studies show “Spanish black radishes contain four times more glucosinolates, believed to enhance detoxification. Clinical tests showed them to have a greater ability to detoxify enzymes, metabolize faster, and quickly reduce DMBA-induced bone marrow toxicity. Scientists concluded that the findings support the hypothesis that glucosinolates in Spanish black radishes are protective against acute toxicity.” Mercola
1) Pickle the Radishes- Pickling tames the spicy flavor. Combine the 1 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup filtered water, 1 tablespoon cane sugar, 1/2 tablespoon, Back to Organic Lemon Twist or Margarita Himalayan salt, and 1-2 dashes of hot sauce in a non reactive pot and bring to a simmer so all the ingredients dissolve. Let liquid cool to a little warmer than room temperature. Slice the radishes with a Mandoline to 1/8″ or less. Clean and slice the red onion down the root direction on the Mandoline to about 1/8″ or less. Add radish and onion slices to a clean jar and pour the warm liquid over to cover. Let cool completely, cap and place in the refrigerator. Pickled radishes will be ready in 24 hours and last for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
2) Make the Herb Butter (Barefoot Contessa)- Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until combined. Do not whip.
3) Fresh Spring Lettuce Salad- Wash and rough chop an assortment of lettuces. Make sure you use the radish greens since they have more vitamin C than the root. Add pickled radishes, your favorite vinaigrette, and sprinkle Back to Organic salt to taste.
4) Plate- Using a spoon, knife or pastry bag, spread the butter on slices of toasted bread and arrange artfully on a platter leaving room in the center of the plate. Add the sliced radishes; these can be pickled or freshly sliced. Sprinkle with your favorite gourmet salt. I recommend Black Italian Truffle or the Lemon Twist Himalayan. Then add some lettuce salad in the center. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!
Chinese proverb, “Eating pungent radish and drinking hot tea, let the starved doctors beg on their knees” which is similar to our “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Special thanks to Richard and Mike for inspiring this post. Everyone was impressed with their knowledge. I hope to see them present more in the future. Make sure you bring the apron!