Who Knew A Radish Could Be So Good?

Who Knew A Radish Could Be So Good?

If you are unfamiliar, watermelon radishes are supremely beautiful. Their deep pink/magenta color is eye-catching and adds a real pop to any ordinary salad. Watermelon radishes are actually considered a heirloom Chinese Daikon radish and a member of the mustard family (along with arugula, broccoli and turnips–who knew!). Typically, watermelon radishes are available during the spring and fall, since they are a cool season crop. Overly warm temperatures can affect the radish’s mild flavor, turning it rather bitter–I learned this the hard way. I was first introduced to a watermelon radish when it appeared on a brine-pickled vegetable board my husband and I ordered at Nick Balla and Cortney Burns’ well-know (but now closed) Bar Tartine in San Francisco. Since then, I have noticed its popularity and availability has increased. Its flesh is tender yet crisp, and its flavor is mild, with a slight peppery note. Depending on when it is harvested, watermelon radishes can vary in size from a golf ball to a baseball. This lesser-known radish can be eaten fresh (which is what I prefer) or cooked, and it goes well with various other vegetables, such as fennel, apple, cucumbers, mild greens and soft cheeses like Feta and chèvre.

Both my husband and I are big salad eaters. We eat them almost daily. I am however, somewhat picky about my salads, I like them interesting and I like them to look beautiful. A nice presentation is important. This was further engrained in me during culinary school, when I had to log countless hours carving vegetables into very precise shapes and sizes.

I came up with this easy little salad for my husband, who has always been a radish lover. One of the best salads he ever had was also at Bar Tartine. It consisted of fresh radishes, homemade sweet cream butter and flake salt. I actually thought he was crazy when he ordered it; but the waitress was right, it was incredible. Sometimes, the most basic recipe really is the best. Despite trying, I could not recreate that perfect radish and butter salad, (primarily because I do not grow my own radishes, or make my own butter); but I created this one instead. I make this often: it’s easy and I typically have all of these ingredients in my refrigerator. My kids also like this salad. Well, they like everything except the radishes. That is still a work in progress. But they’ll get there eventually.

Cucumber Radish Salad

April 3, 2017
: 4
: 20 min
: 20 min
: easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 Persian cucumbers, cleaned, but not peeled
  • 1 medium watermelon radish, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 bunch red radishes, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1/4 red small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  • Step 1 Slice the cucumbers lengthwise and place the flat side on a cutting board. Cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Step 2 Cut the watermelon radish in half. Slice into thin, 1/8-inch slices and place in bowl with cucumbers.
  • Step 3 Cut red radishes in half, and cut into thin slices. Add to other vegetables. Add the sliced onion.
  • Step 4 Cut the grape tomatoes lengthwise and add to bowl.
  • Step 5 Right before serving, gently toss the vegetables with the extra virgin olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Step 6 Place in a serving bowl and garnish with crumbled Feta cheese.
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3 thoughts on “Who Knew A Radish Could Be So Good?”

  • We get these watermelon radishes in our CSA box and have been at a loss for something interesting to do with them… no longer… cannot wait to try this recipe!

  • I made this salad last night- super easy and beautiful- and for my own portion I added in toasted chick peas to make it into my main course. What a light and satisfying meal!

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