Red, round, and crunchy.

Red, round, and crunchy: I’m having a love affair with radishes. Especially the ones available now. They’re crisp, slightly sweet, and mild with the touch of heat you expect of radishes. I’ve always heard, “the hotter the soil, the spicier the radish” and while I’m not sure if this is true, all my radishes have been mellow and delicate lately.

These radishes make their way into all kinds of dishes but, sometimes, the little red orb can take second fiddle—all too often falling into the “garnish” category. So, even though this recipe is hardly one—not even close to a meal, hardly a side dish, and less than a salad—it’s the recipe that’s got me ga-ga for radish. And now that I’ve learned how good radish-lovin’ can be, I’m never letting go.

I simply make a very mustardy vinaigrette to coat the radish slices. Radish is, afterall, in the mustard family; so I’m not surprised that the combination works so well. A good, aged balsamic vinegar levels the mustard’s bite. My balsamic’s aged 15 years and I got it on sale. But ever since my first sweet-tangy taste of it, I knew I’d spend anything—sale or no—for this stuff. Trust me, it’s nothing like supermarket balsamic, closer to a good port wine. And well… I think that balsamic may have played matchmaker between me and my radish.

It may not be much… but eating these radishes—picking them out of the bowl with my fingers—made my day yesterday, just when I was feeling my worst.  There’s something about the spicy mustard, the snappy vinegar, and the crunchy radish that makes eating out of hand–and licking your fingers—invigorating.  The perfect bit of bite.

Radish in Mustard and Vinegar

serves 1-2 for a snack

The mustard taste is strong here.  If you aren’t a total mustard fan, start with 1 tsp and add more to taste.

  • 1 bunch red radishes
  • 2 tsp good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 small shallot, grated
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Slice radishes thinly.

In a small bowl, add balsamic, mustard, shallot, and mix.  While stirring, drizzle in oil.  Stir until completely combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in radishes.  Eat immediately or let marinate for up to 4 hours.  Serve alone or with crusty bread.

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22 thoughts on “Red, round, and crunchy.

  1. I, too, recently started a love affair with radishes. The little two-timers! Just enjoying their crunch and freshness from water content…and now I’ll enjoy them even more with a mustard vinaigrette. Thanks.

  2. Fumi makes delicious radish pickles. When the sour brine turns bright pink that is your signal to dig in. It kills the bitterness but keeps the little kick and the crunch. We get radishes from the CSA all the time, will put this on our list to try out.

  3. Thank you, Kristin and Nicole.

    Joan: I guess I can deal with having an “open relationship” with my radishes.

    Jude: I’ll be making that butter with my stash of radishes soon.

    Gretchen: How lovely to have someone making you pickled radishes!

    Donald: I don’t think Jim’s wild about radishes either, but this is the perfect recipe for that. You can just make the recipe for yourself as a snack – no need to share!

  4. Sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try this with the radishes in my garden.
    And yes – it’s true – heat makes radishes HOT. Like horseradish. I grew mine in a Texas spring last year and they certainly had a fantastic bite to them!

  5. I like veggies from the mustard family, except I prefer them cooked to get rid of the raw tang in them. I am a big fan of Dijon mustard, that’s the only way to get me to eat raw radishes in chunks. Thanks for this very good looking post!

  6. famdoc says:

    We added some color by using about half sliced daikon and half red radishes in this recipe.
    A few weeks ago, our farmers’ market had some purple and white radishes, as well. That would have been a nice visual with the mustard/balsamic dressing. Thanks.

  7. hola stranger. so funny you make this when u do.. i made a Cuban style radish salad last week for a cooking class and it was actually really good. My first time making it… I like urs so next time I add radish to the menu, I’ll try this one! Hope you’ve been well.

  8. Arthur Crown says:

    Do you eat the green leaves attached to the radishes? I learnt it from Jamie Oliver. They’re really good in a salad, kind of like arugola, or something. Jim might like them even if he doesn’t like the red bits.

  9. jamessal says:

    We just made this last night again to go with our sushi, and it went perfectly — like chips, almost, of vinegary crunchiness to cut the fatty fish. An alternative to the ginger.

    And dammit, Crown, I like the red bits fine! Gastronomic calumny, I tell you! An insult to my palette!

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