Watermelon Radish

Watermelon Radish
Seven years ago I would not have believed that a radish could be beautiful. Seven years ago I had never heard of a watermelon radish. Then we joined a CSA and in the late fall I cut into my first watermelon radish and it was a startling thing: the very opposite of your regular salad radish, which, as you know, is red on the outside, plain white inside. The watermelon radish, however, is innocuous on the outside, homely even: large, lumpy, the peel coloured a mix of fungal green and mottled, pockmarked white—you might even mistake it for a turnip. But inside there’s an explosion of purplish-pink, like a grenade of pink has gone off, suffusing the flesh but stopping just short of the outer rim.

It’s good not to be sentimental about even beautiful vegetables though and I don’t want you to think that I left my family to take up with a bunch of watermelon radishes with whom I’ve since been living in uncomfortable and confusing sin. I cut  that radish into chunks, dipped them into salt and ate them.

Consider the Radish

Consider the Radish

And it was good: mellower and milder than your average radish but still obviously radishy. I’ve gone on to use them in many different ways: julienned and pickled, grated into raita, braised with goat. But the simplest prep remains the best, the very taste of fall: sliced into thin disks, lightly dressed with balsamic vinegar, olive, salt and pepper, fanned out on a large platter for full effect. The only difficulty, if you don’t belong to a righteous CSA, is going to be finding a watermelon radish.

Ingredients

  • 1 large watermelon radish, peeled and sliced into thin disks
  • Balsamic vinegar (or other vinegar of choice)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Preparation

  1. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar onto a large platter.
  2. Arrange the radish over the vinegar.
  3. Drizzle some more baslamic vinegar and some olive oil over the radish.
  4. Sprinkle some sea salt and add a few grindings of pepper.
  5. Set aside for at least 30 minutes before eating.
Watermelon Radish

O brave new world, that has such radishes in it!

6 thoughts on “Watermelon Radish

  1. If you get the chance, try mogri (rat tail radish). Unlike a normal radish, it grows above ground like a bean. But 100% taste of radish. Originally grown in western Gujarat, India…but I’ve had success from ding them here at NJ farmer markets

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  2. I’ve never had or seen rat tail radish, not even in India–it was probably not widely available in Delhi in the late ’80s/early ’90s. Was it a desi farm operation that was selling them? Hmong farmers’ markets here carry lots of produce that you don’t see in regular markets, and New Jersey is one of the few places in the US where I could imagine produce being grown for South Asian customers.

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