Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Purple Radish Salad--To Try or to Behold

Last week for the first time ever I saw a purple radish. It looked a little bit like an UFO, or a mole that forgot to hide in his hole and stayed in the sun. I bought it for its looks, as a culinary curiosity, having no idea what to expect in terms of taste and how to cook it. And I am glad I did, as with a change of seasons I do not feel very creative in the kitchen.

Or rather, I am very creative but disorganized, so I cook as always, but just do not feel like measuring and recording everything. So of course I cannot make a post out of it, saying "a little bit of this" and "a little bit of that", even though the results are pretty nice.

But this radish came to my rescue and I would like to talk about it just because of its magnificent purple color, so typical of many fruits and vegetable with a blue pigment that are rich in antioxidants. It has a surprisingly mild, almost sweet taste with a kind of peppery aftertaste. Now that I tried it, I would suggest serving it raw, mostly in salads, as a source of iron and vitamins.

I made an Asian style salad, just to capture the aesthetic qualities of this beautiful tuber. I used also enoki mushrooms for contrast, which most of all, are recommended to be eaten raw. The whole salad was very delicate so I spiced it up with a dressing made of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and rice bran oil, and I topped it with a spoon of wasabi.

I am not sure I would be able to talk anyone one into that salad, but since purple radish is healthy and very inexpensive, it is worth to toss some of it into our regular salads, maybe add to a yogurt sauce or on top of cottage cheese, for color and crunchiness. Or maybe as I made it but differently arranged and mixed. And if you not feel like trying it just look how pretty it is. After adding some vinegar it changed color from a dark purple into more pink.

Purple Radish Salad

One small purple radish, sliced or shredded,
a bunch of enoki mushrooms,
slices of English cucumber,
1/2 small onion, finely sliced,
1 tbsp rice vinegar,
1 tbsp soy sauce,
2 tbsp rice bran oil,
salt and freshly ground pepper,
a pinch of sugar,
chopped chives and a dollop of wasabi mayonnaise (optional).

1. Mix all the vegetables or layer them as I did.
2. Make a dressing and pour over the salad.
3. Decorate with chives, black sesame seeds, and wasabi mayonnaise.

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