My garden is positively bursting out in radishes, the first officially picked vegetable of 2012 at Casa SoupAddict.
I know this makes some of you groan inwardly — radishes might not be your thing, but they are entirely my thing, and I can scarf them up raw, roasted or tossed in a salad. Their black-peppery bite is, for me, the perfect heat: it sits on the back of the tongue, instead of the sometimes-irritating (and cough-inducing, when you’re not expecting it) back of the throat, like cayenne pepper.
But my favorite way to prepare radishes is to grate them, along with a few carrots, and toss them with a spiced marinade, some seeds and maybe crumbles of a briny cheese. I’ve written about carrot salads before (including my favorite from last summer), and aside from fresh, heirloom tomatoes, I’m most looking forward to regular servings of these crunchy salads.
I wrote this recipe specifically with my Cincinnati Market radishes in mind (how could I not grow a variety called Cincinnati Market?). Carrot-shaped and fabulous with beautiful greenery, these radishes have the black-pepper bite I adore. I’m also growing the more familiar round, pink radishes, as well as the bi-colored French Breakfast. Better planning this year (yay, for being organized!) means I’ll have radishes through June (they’re a cool-weather crop), and they’ll overlap with the first harvest of carrots later this month.
My mom was a wise woman, and she always told us, you don’t have to like it, but you have to try it.
And to that I would add, your tastes change as you grow older, so what made you go [patouie!] 10 years ago might now be the most delicious thing this side of ice cream.
Try new things — like grated radishes in harissa-infused oil — and try the old every so often.
Oh, and radishes + harissa = spicy bff’s. Harissa is the North African equivalent of sriracha and is more to my liking, spicy-hot-wise.
Moroccan Radish & Carrot Salad
1/2 pound radishes, grated or chopped
1/2 pound carrots, grated
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout/span>
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Harissa
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or 2 teaspoons preserved lemons – if using, leave out the salt below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1 handful young greens, such as spinach or arugula, sliced chiffonade
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 palmful pepitas
Place the grated radishes and carrots in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil in small skillet over medium until shimmering. Add the ras el hanout, paprika, sugar and harissa. Stir for about a minute — the spices will sizzle and pop — then remove pan from heat. Add the lemon juice and salt.
Pour the spice-infused oil over the radishes and carrots and toss to evenly coat.
Sprinkle the mint, chives and young greens over the salad and toss again.
Top with feta cheese and pepitas before serving.