Key Ingredient

Pretty in Pink

By: The Local Palate

This Springtime,
We’re Relishing Radishes

The golden child of the humble root vegetable family, radishes aren’t content with just looking pretty. Many have serious sass, a fiery bite that doesn’t always assert itself right away, but creeps up on you in a slow burn. Like a sharp-witted beauty that can take you down with a one-liner before you know it. Sliced raw in a salad or sprinkled with sea salt over buttered toast, you can’t resist just one more bite. Not all specimens are that zingy, to be sure. Some, like black radishes, are bitter. Others shine as pickles (hello, daikon). And chef Jacob Sessoms of Table in Asheville, North Carolina, has all their numbers.

Crab salad with easter egg radishes and pickled daikon in a citronette.

“There are so many varieties, each with its own best use.” Take french breakfast radishes. Sessoms roasts them with brussels sprouts and limes for an Asian-inspired side dish. He pairs easter egg radishes with pickled daikon for a refreshing crab and avocado salad, and, in a cheffy flourish, brightens beef carpaccio with black radish dust and purée. “How can you go wrong with something that has great texture, crunch, a healthy bit of spice, and is colorful and appealing on a plate?” he asks. “What’s not to love?”

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