Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter Black Radish Three Ways




Photos (Lexi Van de Walle): Chilled Black Radish Buttermilk Soup, Grated Black Radish and Dressing for Relish; Black Radish and Butter on French Bread, Grated Black Radish Relish

I bought a large (and ugly) black radish -- a winter variety of radish -- at the farmers market and it sat in the crisper for a week before I broke out the box grater and blender to make Chilled (Black) Radish and Buttermilk Soup, Grated Black Radish Relish and a Black Radish and Butter Sandwich on Crispy French Bread with lots of course salt.

It was an all radish all the time meal for one!

Despite my culinary training and sense of adventure in the kitchen, especially with a new(ish) ingredient, I know my limitations and relied on published recipes. Thanks to the much missed and beloved Gourmet and The New York Times, I found two quick, easy and delicious dishes featuring RADISHES (other than chopped in a salad or on a sandwich) and followed them exactly!

This chilled soup (not exactly recommended for a 20-degree and frosty February day) is made in the blender from black radish, cucumber (I used a European cuke and left some of the peel on to enrich the green color of this otherwise whitish-pale green soup) and local buttermilk. Link to the August 2006 Gourmet magazine recipe for traditional red radishes that I found on epicurious.com .

The trick to a nicely textured buttermilk and vegetable soup is to blend the pre-chopped ingredients and buttermilk in the blender or food processor for only a short time. That way, it comes out creamy and not foamy. Serve with chopped radish and cucumber so you have some added crunch. Salt generously to bring out the flavor.

Also on the internet, I discovered a Grated Black Radish Relish Recipe by Florence Fabricant, The New York Times, April 1991 . This unique and likable relish has a distinctive radish flavor with a peppery zip and the personality of a delicate pickle. The recipe has just a few ingredients, but with a little imagination and experimentation, I think it can be enhanced with just a hint of some other pungent flavors such as ginger, mustard seed and garlic.

Bon Appetit!!

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