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Radishes
Radishes
In season - June

Written June 2010 by Vikki Jones

WHILE RACKING MY BRAINS FOR RADISH RECIPES, IT DAWNED ON ME THAT I DIDN'T REALLY KNOW ANY. THE MOST COMMON USE FOR THESE PEPPERY LITTLE RED MORSELS IS A SIMPLE SALAD. THAT, OR CARVED INTO FLOWERS FOR A RETRO-STYLE GARNISH. BUT RADISHES ARE MORE THAN JUST PRETTY FACES - THEY'RE PACKED WITH VITAMIN C AND CANCER-FIGHTING PROPERTIES.

Eating radishes increases the production of saliva and revs up your appetite. Washed, topped and tailed, and sprinkled with salt, they make a perfect pre-dinner snack with an aperitif - preferably, I am told, a chilled dry sherry.

But if drinking sherry isn't your thing, you could always try cooking with it. Halve the radishes lengthways, sauté in butter and cook down with a good glug of sherry to finish. Or why not try them roasted in a quiche or tart with some goat's cheese? The peppery crunch goes brilliantly with the smooth, creamy cheese.

And radishes are not just a British crop - they have been eaten in Asia and eastern parts of Europe since prehistoric times. Here you can find a large, white variety known in Japan as the 'daikon'. Resembling a giant white carrot, it is milder in flavour than the red variety but keeps a subtle, peppery bite.

Daikon can be found in Asian supermarkets and taste great grated and added to salads, served with fish, rice, noodles or sushi. If you have a bit more time on your hands, try them pickled for a delicious sweet, sour and summery side dish.

Pickled carrot and Japanese radish salad
(Serves 4)

Ingredients
3-4 medium carrots, peeled and grated
Approx. ½ a Japanese daikon radish, peeled and grated
4 tsp salt

Dressing:
175ml Japanese rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp very finely grated fresh ginger
5 tsp sugar

Method
1 Place the grated carrot and radish in a fine-holed colander or sieve and sprinkle evenly with the salt.
2 Weight the sieve with a bowl or similar and leave for at least 30 minutes to drain away excess water.
3 Squeeze as much remaining water from the vegetables as you can and transfer to a bowl.
4 Whisk together the dressing ingredients until the sugar has completely dissolved.
5 Pour over the vegetables, stir thoroughly, cover and leave in the fridge overnight

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