…or Indianish Radish Relish, which is what I called it the first time I wrote about it, but Reddish Radish Relish has a nice symmetry to it.
I’ve made something similar many times since then, incorporating ideas from other sources and using whatever ingredients are at hand. Basically the idea is chopped radishes with a bit of something sour (lemon or lime juice, or vinegar, or sorrel) and salt and various other seasonings. The first three things (radishes, something sour and salt) are a constant, the rest is improvisation.
A recent lunch version went like this. ‘Giant of Sicily’ and ‘Shunkyo Semi-Long’ radishes (coarsely chopped), a couple of ‘Red Baron’ scallions (sliced crosswise), a very few ‘Kentucky Colonel’ spearmint leaves (finely chopped along with the tiniest unblemished radish leaves), one ripe yellow ‘Lemon Drop’ chile pepper from the freezer (finely chopped), and lime juice and salt to taste. I think, as is, this would make a fine accompaniment for many types of cuisines -Indian or Middle-Eastern or Latin American food come to mind – but you could adjust the variables to suit the rest of the meal. Don’t like hot peppers? Leave them out. Don’t like sour relish? Add a pinch of sugar. Don’t like mint? Try parsley. You get the idea.
Our red radishes need to be used up in the next few days. The round red ‘Giant of Sicily’ started to crack from the recent rain, and ‘Shunkyo Semi-Long’ have a very short harvest window between too small and too pithy. Soooooo, although I like my relish and can vary it quite a bit, I think we may not want to eat it every day.
Here are a few more radish user-upper ideas from around the internet.
- Radish Pachadi. I’ve made this a few times and it’s delicious. If you’re not familiar with Indian cooking techniques, “crack the mustard seeds” means let them sizzle in hot oil until they start to pop.
- Radish Sandwich. Yolanda makes a very nice version, but I make it even simpler by just slicing radishes and eating them on buttered bread with a little salt. The bread has to be very good and very fresh for this. I’m thinking that you could turn this into a picnic buffet dish by making a compound butter of finely chopped radishes and, um, butter to spread on fresh bread or crackers.
- Along the same lines, is this Spring Radish Spread, based on cream cheese instead of butter.
- I haven’t tried this one, but it’s similar to my radish relish. There’s no recipe, just a description of something served at a taco place. Theirs has radishes, onions, tomatoes, and Habanero peppers. Also, see this version from the Rappahannock Cook & Gardener.
I started writing this post on Saturday morning and I’m finishing it on Sunday morning. We’re due for a week of hot weather. While browsing A Midwest Gardener’s Cookbook yesterday looking for more ideas, I found advice to pull the radishes when they’re ready and that, if the leaves are removed, they’ll keep well in the fridge. Better in the fridge than in the garden in this heat anyway. So yesterday, I pulled the remaining ‘Giant of Sicily’ and found all except the tiniest ones had split. I won’t be making radish roses out of those, but I think they’ll still be fine cleaned up and chopped up. The ‘Shunkyo Semi-Long’ radishes are faring better, but they do get pithy quickly, so I’ll be pulling most of those up too to put in the fridge. ‘Giant of Sicily’ was new to the garden this spring. It was OK, but nothing to rave about. It did seem to split very quickly. I think the catalog description said the roots would get to 2″ in diameter, but mine were much smaller than that. I may use up the seeds, but probably wouldn’t buy it again. On the other hand, ‘Shunkyo Semi-Long’ is a good radish. I’ve grown it for several years now. Some catalogs list ‘Shunkyo’, but I’m pretty sure that’s the same thing. It’s described as hot and sweet, but I can’t discern all that much of either. To me, it just has a good radishy flavor.
I have four varieties of daikon-type radish in the ground too, but they’re not quite ready yet. A topic for another post.