Thursday, November 10, 2011

As I was saying...

In my last post I talked about some pernil tacos and the condiments I made to eat with them. And just by coincidence, I recently whipped up another taco-worthy topping, so I thought I'd piggyback on my most recent entry and share this complementary recipe with you.

My summer CSA share ended this week, and it was bittersweet: sweet, because that means the winter CSA share starts up soon; and bitter, because I had to finally say goodbye to all that wonderful warm-weather produce. But bitter, also, for another reason: all those dang radishes.

For the last four pickups in a row, I'd gotten bunches of different kinds of radishes, such as slender magenta French breakfast radishes, and brightly-hued, multicolored Easter egg radishes, to name two types. I was running out of ideas for radishes, people. I sliced them thinly and scattered the pale discs over my salad. I smeared them with good butter and sprinkled them with coarse salt for an appropriately French snack. And then I...shoved the rest of the radishes in my crisper drawer, waiting for inspiration to strike. Now don't get me wrong: I'm a fan of this vegetable, with its crisp, watery, sharp bite. (I also have a more sentimental fondness for it: in a memorable scene in my very favorite children's book, A Special Trade, the aging main character pulls a radish out of the ground and gives it to his friend and caretaker, a little girl, to bite into, fresh from the earth.) But it just doesn't seem like the most versatile foodstuff. Luckily, I found the perfect occasion to use up a lot of my radishes when I had friends over for a Mexican-inspired meal of corn tortillas, rice, beans, guacamole, and pickled red onions. What better addition to this spread but a refreshing radish salsa, fiery with jalapeño and bright with fresh cilantro?

I'd eaten radish salsa a handful of times before, at some of my favorite Mexican joints (one of the best of this lot being Girasol Bakery in south Park Slope), but I'd never m
ade it at home. Turns out, it couldn't be simpler: you dice up the radishes very finely; add some jalapeño, similarly finely chopped; cilantro, salt, and a very generous squeezing of lime juice. As the salsa sits, the flavors meld and the colors bleed, resulting in a bowl of rosy goodness that's equally at home spooned over roast pork as it is over rice and beans:

Radish Salsa
Makes about 1 1/2 cups


- 1 bunch radishes of any type, rinsed and very finely diced
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- A good handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- The juice of 2 limes
- Salt, to taste


1. Combine the radishes,
jalapeño, cilantro and lime juice in a bowl and stir to combine. Salt to taste. (You'll need a fair amount of salt to cut through the acidity of the lime.) For best results, cover and refrigerate for one hour before serving, to allow flavors to meld.