Radishes are in season locally. I got a couple of bunches of long pink radishes in my Papa Spuds box recently. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered them – that’s half the fun! But they tasted very much like regular radishes and so I set off to figure out what to do with them.
Radishes have a very distinctive taste, which makes them a little challenging to incorporate into recipes. You can always just slice them into a green salad but their slightly bitter/hot flavor can add pizzaz to lots of dishes. Radishes are an especially good complement to cool flavors.
Cucumber and Radish and Cilantro
I have some Nepali friends who once made me a wonderful sort of salad/relish with grated cucumber and radish and cilantro. This recipe is inspired by that dish, but incorporates some other Asian flavors as well. The cool cucumber is a great counterpoint to the spicy radish, which is mellowed just enough by the rice vinegar in the dressing.
A mandolin slices the cucumber and radish thinly and quickly.
The cucumber and radish need to be sliced very thinly for this recipe. A mandolin – one of my favorite neat gadgets – does a great job. The cucumber is salted and allowed to drain to remove the excess water.
- 1 large cucumber
- 12 oz radishes
- 5 Tbsp chopped cilantro (about ½ bunch)
- ½ inch section of ginger root, peeled
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp mirin
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp plus ¼ tsp salt, divided
- 1 tsp toasted light sesame seeds
- Slice cucumbers and radishes very thinly. Use a mandolin if you have one.
- Spread cucumber slices out in a colander and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Toss to coat and let drain 20 minutes. Rinse and blot dry with paper towels.
- You can grate the ginger root or if you have a mini-blender or mini-chopper, some more of my favorite neat gadgets, you can simply toss the piece of root in with the dressing ingredients (canola oil through ¼ tsp salt) and blend.
- Mix the ginger, oils, vinegar, mirin, honey and ¼ tsp salt well.
- In a serving bowl, combine the cucumber, radish, cilantro and dressing.
- Toss gently to coat, separating cucumber slices as you toss so that they all get coated with dressing.
- Let salad sit at room temperature about a half hour for flavors to meld and radish to mellow a bit.