January 26, 2022
Usually relegated to crudité plates or a salad add-on, radishes get little respect in the western cooking world. But one just has to look over at the vast and varied culture of Asia, where they first grew in the wild, to see the umpteen ways to enjoy these pungent cruciferous little globes. From quick pickles in a Vietnamese banh mi to brightening up a Thai cucumber salad to making the north Indian Punjabi “mooli” paratha, radishes are used all over Asia.
Seeing the vast array of brightly colored radishes at the farmer’s markets these days makes me want to find more ways to enjoy them — particularly the large, purple heirloom Japanese radishes that appear perfect for roasting.
Roasting radishes diminishes their pungent flavor and adds an interesting sweetness. The hardest part of this recipe may just be deciding how best to arrange the vegetables on the platter — it’s a visual feast.
2 bunches of French or red radishes
2 large heirloom purple or watermelon radishes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 green pear
2 Persian or one small English cucumber
Juice of one lime or lemon
Generous pinch of red chili powder
Few sprigs of herbs, such as cilantro or parsley
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut the smaller radishes in half and the larger into halves then into wedges and combine them with 3 tablespoons olive oil, cumin seeds, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and spread on a baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. After 20 minutes, take the foil off and cook the radishes for another 5 to 10 minutes or until they have golden-brown tips. At this point, the radishes should have cooked through, appear moist, and lightly caramelized. Remove from the oven and let them cool down.
To make the salad, on a large platter, arrange the roasted radishes along with small wedges of the pear and thin slices of the cucumbers. Sprinkle the remaining salt and olive oil over the salad with a pinch of chili powder. Garnish with lemon or lime juice and herbs just before serving.
The salad can be prepared a few hours before and left at room temperature before serving.
Crumble goat or feta cheese over the salad.
Instead of pears and cucumbers, use avocado, apples, or quince..
December 02, 2022