Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Recipe: Simple radish salad

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Time for a little survey.

Everyone who doesn't like radishes, raise your hand.

I see a few.

Now, everyone who thinks radishes are boring, spicy, only fit to be served next to the carrot and celery sticks at East coast diners, not interesting enough to stand on their own, a vegetable only your grandmother could love...raise your hand.

Ah, a few more.

Well, let me tell you something. This recipe will change all of your minds. It's incredibly simple, incredibly beautiful, and incredibly delicate and flavorful. Wipe any radish preconceptions from your mind. Start fresh.

Radish salad
  • 3 bunches of radishes, greens removed, scrubbed and ends trimmed
  • 1 juicy lemon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, or more to taste
  • a generous pinch of coarse or flaked salt (I use fleur de sel)
Using a mandoline or a food processor with the slicing blade, slice the radishes extremely thinly into a bowl. Only use your food processor if you own the very, very thin slicing blade - I don't, which is why I use a mandoline.

A side note: For those of you who might not know of this very useful kitchen tool, this OXO is the one I wish I owned (I'm still waiting for my old one to wear out). Do be careful not to slice off the tips of your fingers; radishes are small. When I slice radishes on the mandoline, I leave a bit of the stem attached and use that to grip the radishes as I'm pushing them through the slicer.

Back to the recipe: Squeeze the lemon over the radishes, then add the olive oil and a pinch of the salt. Toss, taste, and adjust. I find I usually need a little more oil and wish I had put in a little less salt. With luck, you'll learn from my mistakes.

Let the salad sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. The radishes will wilt slightly and give off some liquid, which will combine with the lemon juice and oil to make the dressing. As a bonus, the dressing, and then the radishes themselves, will turn a lovely shade of pink. This is truly one of the most beautiful little salads I know.

7 comments:

onlinepastrychef said...

Sounds like it would be crisp and refreshing. I would think you could then take these little "pickled" radishes and use them as a component in a larger salad as well. Thanks for sharing :)

Erika said...

Sometimes, if I haven't eaten the whole container in one sitting, I use these radishes as a garnish on a lovely chicken sandwich.

They're not really pickled though - at least not by my definition. I put enough olive oil so that they're not very sharp, and I always think of pickles as puckeringly sour and vinegary. These are more - well, wilted, I guess, after a day. Still crunchy, but definitely wigglier.

That doesn't make them sound very appealing. They are, though. And did I mention pink?

Thanks so much for your comment. I'm going right over to your blog to read about simple syrup!

Anonymous said...

Hi Erika,
Tried your radish salad last night and loved it! Very deelish, and couldn't be simpler. Anything that makes me get my mandoline out of the cabinet is a good thing!
--DorothyR

Erika said...

I'm so glad you liked it, Dorothy. I have a cabbage salad recipe that's very similar - will post that one soon.

DougL said...

Hi Erika,
Thanks for highlighting the mandoline -- it's really worth getting one. A few months ago, I finally bought a mandoline of sorts: the Kyocera Adjustable Ceramic Slicer. It was less than $30 and simplified prep for so many things. Making salads like this one, slicing a whole bag of onions, you name it. It can easily cut 15 to 20 minutes of prep time out of a recipe.
Doug

Elva@ Gluten Free Desserts said...

This reminds me that I need to harvest the radishes in our garden, too. We also have some beets that need to come out. I love how the simple radish look in your photo!

Erika Kerekes said...

Elva - you have radishes and beets in your garden? Lucky you. I've never had luck growing radishes. I think our soil is too hard/dense. Do you use the radish tops and beet tops too?

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