Monday, April 18, 2011

Watermelon Radishes

I recently came across a "watermelon radish," a variety I had never seen before--greenish-yellow on the outside, red-streaked on the inside, larger and somewhat milder than the more common red radish. As usually happens when I find a new vegetable or fruit, I began to visualize a few applications.
After an initial lengthwise cut to see the inside, the first thing I wanted to do was to try a cross-section. So I got out my truffle slicer and slashed off a few rounds, as thin as I could, without shredding the outer layer of skin. Seeing the reddish interior, I decided to make a quick "carpaccio" by laying the slices out in a scalloped pattern. I brushed on a thin film of olive oil and then added some Haleakala Hawaiian red sea salt crystals and freshly ground mixed peppercorns (black, white, pink and green). Pretty and tasty.

Next, I made a radish salsa--one used in Veracruz as a condiment with fish, which is simply  radish and onion cut into roughly 1/4-inch dice, with fresh lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Once combined, the ingredients are left to macerate a short time, until the juices flow and the pigment in the radishes turns everything pink-red. It tasted good, but I felt it needed just a little heat, so I added a healthy dash of sriracha (quite unorthodox for Mexican food, but I've never known anyone to complain about any kind of chile in Mexico, so I'm sure I'd get away with it).

Finally, I made a salad with the radishes, red onion and fennel. I used freshly harvested greens from our bathtub garden, including red Swiss chard, mizuna, red leaf lettuce, and tat soi, with green leaf and romaine lettuce microgreens. To tie it all together, I made a fresh basil vinaigrette by blending basil leaves, garlic, Dijon mustard, golden balsamic, EVOO, salt and pepper.

I'm sure a few more applications for this unusual radish will come to mind, but I'm happy with the results so far--and since I've used up all the ones I bought, that about covers it for now.

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