Are radishes about to become to 2015 what cauliflower was to 2014 (or Brussels sprouts were to 2013, or what kale was to…)? I certainly hope so, because I love these crunchy little balls of peppery flavour. Most people are most familiar with cherry belle radishes (those little red ones that are probably at your supermarket right now), but there are so many other radishes available and every single one of them has its own flavour. A trip to your local farmers’ market this spring should reveal all kinds of cool radishes and I’ve also seen them popping up on a lot of plates at chef-y restaurants.
On a side note, did you know that Ben Kweller got his start in a sugar-metal (yeah, that’s a thing) band called Radish? Here they are some years back on the Weird Al Show (which, yes, was also a thing):
When I was in California a couple of weeks ago I was making dinner for some friends and decided to treat myself to a trip to Whole Foods, which proved to be an adventure in the world of radishes. They had the regular cherry belles as well as the almost equally familiar daikons, plus a full row in the produce case of many kinds of delightfully colourful radishes, some of which I’d never used before. I stocked up, not quite sure what I was going to do with my bounty, and brought them to the check-out guy, who outright laughed at me for buying nothing but radishes and a selection of premium snacks.
But what do you do with a radish? Sticking them in a salad or using them as some kind of garnish is the most common answer, but why stop there? They’re also good roasted, blanched, or pickled and can be added to any dish that requires a little bit of kick (don’t forget that horseradish is also, indeed, a radish!). Here are a few of the radishes I bought, which all are fairly common, depending on where you live:
Easter Egg Radishes: These guys are basically a much prettier (and hopefully fresher if you’re buying them in a good market) version of those ubiquitous cherry belles. I sliced them up and added them to my very standard quinoa salad in place of the green onion that I usually use.
Watermelon Radishes: Look how beautiful this humble little radish is! Watermelon radishes get their name from their green rind and pink insides, not because they taste like watermelon (they don’t). These ones take particularly well to pickling, but I sliced them nice and thin and added them to that same quinoa salad.
Black Radish: As pretty as the watermelon radish is, I think the true beauty of the bunch is this large black radish. The inky black skin is so thin that you can rub it off with your finger and the inside is pure white. Black (or Spanish) radishes are spicier than their pretty pink cousins and are a bit much to eat raw. I sliced mine super thin and fried them in a little bit of butter with lots of salt and served them as a side dish.
They were good, but not as crisp as I would have liked. Next time I’m making Black Sabbath Chips instead. Because… wow, that is the way to make a badass radish. Though, I’d like to think Ozzy would just take a bite out of a black radish, like he was eating an apple.
Which means it’s time to listen to some Sabbath. Enjoy. And get on those radishes!