Black Radish

By Marcia Kiesel Posted February 16, 2007

We grew up fearing those dusty, charcoal colored tennis balls my Dad used to grow.  He ‘d let them sit on the counter for days. Black radishes were something so strong and ugly that only Dad ate them, and then sandwiched between heavily buttered rye. He hasn't grown them in years because he couldn't find seeds in any of his catalogs. This year he asked me to look in my, what he thinks are, hippy-dippy organic, heirloom seed catalogs for black radish seeds. And I found 2 different types: a Spanish black radish that was called mild. Well, that's not the point here. Another catalog featured a German one that was described as pungent. But the experimental gardener in me of course, had to buy both, since you never  know. If you leave radishes in the ground long enough into the summer weather they turn hot anyway. We'll see. Now I am intrigued with them. They are so hot, they are almost impossible to eat, which is why they are so fascinating. My Dad reveled in the fact that everyone else hated them,  so he ate them with glee. He also eats raw potatoes. I've tried them on occasion and they still taste poisonous. But, since black radishes are so strong, it seems to me they have a lot to offer. I am trying to figure out all the ways I can use them: grating them like horseradish, Korean style, braised in soy or my favorite fancy radish use, sherry vinegar marinated raw beef salad with slivers of radish. More on that in June.

The Dish
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