Radish Salad changes the way we think of radishes, and the predictable salad bowl piled with leafy greens. The crunch remains, just change the focal point. With mounds of bright red globes beckoning in the market, combined with low price and long shelf life, forget serving this root vegetable as a garnish or crudite easily ignored. Think of radishes as being vivacious, a bit cheeky in fact. Their assertive character dominates a creamy salad, demanding attention. Thinly slice radishes and pair them with a few crunchy ingredients, then balance them with thick yogurt, sour cream, lemon, and herbs. The result? These attention-grabbers surprise and delight with refreshing flavor as they blend with the dressing.
Grocery stores sell the bright red-skinned Cherry Belle, Comet, or Globe radishes with white interior throughout the year. With many varieties to choose from depending on the season, each with its own dynamic color and shape, be sure to look for them the next time you're at the market…the blushed pink-to-white mild French breakfast radish, the beautiful deep rose to rosey purple-colored China Rose, long White Icicle, round Spanish Black, the elongated Purple Plum radish, or the pale green-skinned Watermelon with its hot pink interior. Combine a few varieties ranging from mild to sharp in taste for this salad.
Choose fresh radishes that are hard to the touch with firm leaves. Avoid really large-sized radishes for its particular variety, because often they are not solid throughout, contain small holes, and are pithy or soft inside. As a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli and cauliflower, radishes host several health benefits. Radishes are a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamins C and B6, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc, with lesser amounts of riboflavin, calcium, copper, magnesium, and other nutrients. Save those radish leaves, too! They add a peppery taste to the salad or smoothie plus provide calcium, iron, magnesium, folate, Vitamins A, C, and K.
Considered a natural cooling agent and cleansing agent, radishes aid digestion and help eliminate toxins. Their high water content helps you remain hydrated. Next time you're going to the gym for a workout or to the beach and packing up your gear and water bottle, include a few radishes. They have far fewer calories than most nutrition bars, no added sugars, and cost a fraction of those snacks.
If this radish salad is eaten the same day as made, the peppery sharpness of the crunchy radish pierces through the soothing dressing. In one bite you feel the burn followed by the cooling of your palate. It becomes softer and quite mild on the second and third day, so choose the style most appealing to you.
Use a mandoline for uniform, fast slicing. Include any amount of ingredients you prefer. Make the dressing with all thick, plain Greek Yogurt or sour cream, or combine the two in about equal quantity. At first, the dressing is thick. However, the salt draws out the juice from the sliced radishes (and the cucumber, green apple, celery if using), thinning the dressing so it lightly coats the ingredients.
Serve chilled. Radish Salad perks up the outdoor buffet. As part of the full menu, it becomes a memorable appetizer presented with pumpernickel bread, smoked fish, or grilled fish or shellfish, unifying into such a pleasing well-designed plate. Be sure to include thin slices of tart green apple in the salad, and your guests will be talking about your fabulous dish. It is surprising how something so simple, inexpensive, and easy-to-make, can be so good! Vodka-based cocktails, cucumber martinis, or fresh lemonade provide that perfect nip for a refreshing meal.
Thinly sliced radishes
Red or white scallions, thinly sliced
Thick, plain Greek yogurt and/or sour cream
Fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
Fresh dill, snipped or chopped
Freshly grated lemon zest
Ground cayenne red pepper for those who love to feel the burn
Cracked black pepper
Persian cucumber or Kirby cucumber, thinly sliced whole rounds, not shredded
Green apple, thinly sliced
Celery, thinly sliced
Radish leaves, julienned
Arugula leaves, julienned
Fresh mint leaves, julienned
Fresh chives instead of scallion, snipped
Thinly slice the radishes and scallions. Choose the additions of cucumber, green apple, and/or celery you want to include, and thinly slice them. Combine all in a bowl.
Dressing: Mix together the yogurt and/or sour cream with drops of fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar, and a little salt to taste. Pour into the bowl and toss thoroughly coating the fresh ingredients with the dressing. Add the dill, grated lemon zest, cayenne, mint, or chives and gently toss them into the salad. The dressing looks thick at this point, see photo below.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving so the lemon zest and herbs have time to permeate the dressing. During this time, juices are drawn out. These, in turn, thin out the dressing. Just before serving radish salad, top with cracked black pepper and fresh dill, mint, or chives. Serve the leaves along the side of each serving.