“The Healthy Gourmet”

May 26, 2011

Ravishing Radishes — the dictionary defines “ravishing” as extremely delightful or beautiful, and radishes fall into both categories in my book.  The red radishes we get at grocery stores are known as European radishes and are delightful peppery little nuggets of red beauty.  I occasionally shop at a specialty produce place in Atlanta that carries what are known as Easter Egg Radishes – they are sort of egg shaped, in a bunch with their greens still attached, and range in color from white to pink to red to lavender to purple.  They are delicious, and definitely qualify as beautiful to eat either just sliced with salt and pepper or to add color (and taste!) to other dishes.

The Greek name for radishes means “quickly appearing”, most likely a reference to radish’s fast germination and maturation – they germinate in 3 – 7 days and mature in 3 – 4 weeks.   Radishes are in season from April to June, and again from October to January, so now is the right time to eat radishes at their peak.

We commonly eat the root of the radish but the leafy greens are edible and quite tasty.  The radish root is usually eaten raw and has a pungent, peppery flavor that is caused by chemicals that are also found in mustard and horseradish; in fact, radishes are in the mustard family.  Radishes are generally used in salads to add a crunchy peppery flavor and pretty white and red/pink color but you can also slice them thinly and make a great sandwich with a bit of cream cheese, or pile them next to the olives and pickles on your next party platter.  The Baked Radish Chips recipe below is a healthy and unique snack, so give them a try for something different!

Red Radish Salad

Serves 4

The trick is to slice the radishes thinly. For this, a mandoline is best.

  • About 12 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • Ground Urfa or other mild chilies to taste (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint or cilantro

1. Combine radishes with salt, and cover with water in a bowl. Let sit 15 minutes. Drain, and rinse. Meanwhile, stir together the pepper and fruit juices.

2. Toss radishes with dressing and chilies. Taste. Add more salt, pepper or lime juice as needed. Garnish with herb, and serve.

Radish and Sesame Soy Noodle Salad

Serves 2

 

For the noodle salad

  • 7oz whole wheat noodles, cooked according to packet instructions and drizzled with canola oil to prevent sticking
  • 7oz red radishes, washed and quartered
  • ½ cucumber, halved lengthways, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 T black sesame seeds or toasted sesame seeds (or to taste)
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs, to garnish

 

For the sesame soy dressing

  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp Chinese black rice vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
  1. Place the noodles, radishes and cucumber into three separate bowls and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.
  2. For the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  3. To serve, transfer the noodles to a large serving dish, layer with some radish and cucumber and scatter the black sesame seeds on top. Spoon the dressing over the noodles and garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve immediately.

 

Baked Radish Chips

Serves 1 – a very low cal snack!

 

  • 10 radishes
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  1. Thinly slice radishes
  2. Steam in microwave for 5 minutes
  3. Put in bowl with spices; stir
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, flip the chips, and bake for another 10 minutes

 

 

 

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