A radish was not a welcome sight in a salad when I was a child. If I so much as spied a sliver of pink poking through the greens I was. not. happy. Much like asparagus and scallions, radishes have recovered from childhood hatred to become one of my favorite veggies. Crunchy, spicy, and beautiful, they’re great for sprucing up salads and snacking on with butter and fleur de sel.
Varieties: Radishes come in many varieties, although we’re most familiar with the standard pink-skinned, white-fleshed version that can be found in the grocery store. One of the fun parts of shopping at a farmer’s market is stumbling on more obscure varieties of fruits and veggies. Two of my favorite varieties are the French breakfast radish, elongated instead of round, its skin fading from pink to white; and the watermelon radish, which is green on the outside and pink on the inside. Daikon is a radish found in Japanese and other Asian cuisines, and is much larger, elongated, and white.
Preparations: Radishes are most frequently prepared raw, but they can also be braised on the stovetop in some butter and stock, or roasted at high heat until tender. The leaves are edible, and the plant is related to mustard and turnips, both of which have somewhat spicy, edible leaves.
Noche de Rábanos: Spanish for “Night of the Radishes,” Noche de Rábanos is a yearly festival held on December 23 in Oaxaca City. One of the main events is an exhibition of carved radishes, which have been specially grown for the event and can weigh almost 7 pounds.
Crunch crunch! Radish week is here.