Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The Watermelon Radish. I love these radishes so much. How much? So much that I feel like they literally help me to thrive in the winter months. They are crunchy and watery, sweetening as the winter months crawl along, but their most astonishing, uplifting quality must be their color. Their bright magenta purple, outlined by bright white, is like a gem. And they are copious! We've had them all winter at the farmers market, a staple along with cabbage, carrots, potatoes and onions.
Color is hard to come by in this climate this time of year. On the landscape, the wild turkeys gleam if you see them in just the right light. Red Cardinals flit through leafless shrubs. White snow, evergreen trees, ice blue creeks, mud. Canned berries and fruits on the morning toast. And in the evening, a plate of shining, crisp, watermelon radishes in vinaigrette, our eyes as hungry as our bodies for their dense ruby color. And their color could be as easy to miss as a darting Cardinal. They are white, they look just like a turnip. I passed them by in the market until a farmer friend placed one in my hand and said, Try it.
I could not believe the color when I sliced it in half at home. And it makes me wonder, as I come to live and know this climate, what other jewels of the earth are waiting to be discovered?
Here is a sublime winter salad using Watermelon Radishes:
First make dressing in bottom of salad bowl:
Shallots, white wine vinegar (Chardonnay), olive oil, salt
Slice red cabbage into ribbons
Slice Watermelon Rasish into matchsticks
Cut Nori seaweed (comes in sheets) into little ribbons
Chop a handful of flat leaf parsley
Stack them in the bowl as pictured. Toss directly before serving and add black pepper. If you want to bring out a little more of an Asian aspect to the salad with the Nori, add a little sesame oil to dressing, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.