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.