Want to cause a stir at your next party? Serve radishes. Seriously. Whether people love them or hate them, they’re a conversation starter. And don’t just go for the small red ones you find in the plastic bags at the grocery store.
Check out these huge red radish “orbs” I found from a local farmer and the daikon radishes that look like jicama when cut, but have much more zip.
Sure they look a bit weird in their natural state. But clean them up, cut off their unsightly ends and slice them into rounds or sticks and presto! Suddenly radishes go from “not ready for prime time” to sophisticated morsels.
The two I’ve pictured are the most common in my area.
Table or small radishes are also known as spring, summer, or European radishes. They are typically round and small. However they also come in more elongated versions that resemble olives, oblongs, or even icicles. I checked out the beautiful photographs in Elizabeth Schneider’s Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini and determined that these red ones are either Cherry Belles or Easter Egg radishes. They are usually the size of grapes, but these were almost as large as ping pong balls.
Asian or Oriental radishes come in many sizes and shapes. Elizabeth Schneider has a list of their types in various languages where these radishes are common: daikon (Japan), mooli (India), lo bok or lo pak or luo boh (China.) My mom always used the long, white daikon and I love them. The daikon radishes I found were about 1 pound each, which is apparently their normal size in what Schneider calls “mainstream markets.” However, she says that they can reach 60 pounds and still be juicy. Imagine that!
Radishes are versatile too. Don’t just take my word for it. Check out all these ways to serve radishes. (Several are from my blog, a few from my as-yet-unblogged-about thoughts, and others from Schneider’s excellent chapter on radishes.) Pick one (or maybe more) for your first, or next, radish-fest and enjoy!
10 Great Ways to Serve Radishes
- With Dip – This beet-yogurt dip works well with red and daikon radishes. So does herbed mayonnaise or aioli.
- Stuffed – Stuff large red ones with a pesto, radish, and celery mixture.
- On Bread, with Butter and Salt – A French classic.
- Pickled – The Japanese call these takuan. Remember my pickled daikon adventure, using the recipe from Guy Kawasaki’s mom?
- Roasted – A simple method to enjoy radishes with other vegetables, perfect in cool weather.
- Poached – Briefly poach small oblong (French Breakfast) radishes in salted water, then add them to a minty sweet-and-sour liquid. Serve with roasted rack of lamb for what Schneider calls “a refreshing twist on a classic.”
- Sautéed – Sauté thinly sliced daikon with orange zest and fresh ginger, or dill and chives, plus a bit of sugar and salt. Or simply sauté red Asian radishes with a bit of butter and kosher salt.
- Stewed – Simmer daikon and their greens in water with a tablespoon of butter. Once the radishes are tender add 1-2 minced carrots, uncover the pot and raise the heat for a few minutes. After cooking, add a bit more butter.
- Glazed – Make a sweet-and-sour glaze for long red radishes with cranberry juice, balsamic vinegar, nut or olive oil, allspice or cloves, salt and pepper. Or slice peeled daikon into half-inch rounds and cook them with butter, sugar and fresh ginger, adding chicken or vegetable stock, honey or sugar and sherry or rice wine vinegar.
- Stir-fried – Small red radishes (whole) with chicken in a cilantro and fish sauce.