Have made it my mission to experiment with less common ingredients. In our increasingly homogenized world, it pays to seek out the unusual. A tomato is not just a tomato. An apple is not just an apple. And, a radish is not just a radish. There are numerous varieties of apples, tomatoes and radishes, each boasting a unique flavor profile. Today is all about showcasing the watermelon radish and celebrating nature’s vast diversity.
Had never given much thought when it came to radishes. Sure, will toss a few into a green salad for added crunch, but not much love for the radish beyond that. That all changed when I discovered the watermelon radish — an heirloom Chinese Daikon radish. From the outside, they are not flashy; a rather drab light-green color; but once you slice it open, voila — behold its striking circular striations of pink and magenta. Watermelon radish is milder (less bitter) and sweeter than the typical [Cherry Belle] radish you encounter in grocery stores.
I simply shredded the radish, along with some vibrant red carrots, and tossed with an Asian-style [fish sauce] vinaigrette. You can enjoy this salad as is, though it makes for a great slaw atop a salmon burger.
Besides orange and red, there are purple, white, and yellow carrots…
Watermelon Radish Salad
3-4 watermelon radish (~2 cups shredded)
1 large carrot, shredded
3 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon fish sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, smashed or finely minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 Serrano or Thai chile or pinch of cayenne, to taste
1 tablespoon (toasted) sesame seeds
Sweet or Thai basil leaves, thinly sliced for garnish
Note: you can add just about any crunchy vegetables, such as kohlrabi, broccoli stems…
Mix all the ingredients together. Let stand at least 10 minutes, top with sesame seeds and basil. Serve.