These poor black radishes sat in the fridge for weeks. Actually, it may have been over a month. Totally neglected. As the one who does most of the cooking, it was up to me to get up the guts to work with these again. The last time was almost two years ago and I was a bit stunned by their pungent flavor. It was a similar reaction to what I had when I first tried dandelion greens. But now I'm a fan of those greens. I found a way to mellow them and I knew I could do the same with black radish.
After weeks of meals loaded with butter, cream, sugar, and all those delicious and rich ingredients, I was ready to lighten things up a bit. Slaws are my favorite this time of year. Between the soups and stews, it's nice to balance things by preparing a big salad with a zingy slaw. A little sweetness comes out through the agave and carrot, with a touch of tang from the lime. It's got a lot going on. A ton of flavor; a lot of textures. And it reminds me to remain fearless in the kitchen. At face value, an ingredient can be intimidating. Approaching it with a little finesse, however, can transform it into something beautiful.
Black Radish Slaw with Toasted Quinoa
Yields: Serves 4 as a side
1/2 cup quinoa 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth 2 medium-sized black radish, peeled and root end trimmed. 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves 1 lime, juiced 2 tsp agave 3.5 tablespoons olive oil Kosher salt 1 tsp smoked paprika Baby spinach, rinsed Sesame seeds
1. To cook the quinoa, add the veggie broth to a pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until all the veggie broth has been absorbed, approximately 15 minutes. While it's cooking, prepare the rest of the slaw.
2. Using a shredding side of a box grater, grate the black radish and carrot into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together lime juice, agave, and 1.5 tablespoons olive oil, along with the mint leaves and 1 tsp of Kosher salt. Pour dressing over grated radish slaw and toss together. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
3. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a medium sauté pan. Set over medium-high heat. Once the oil has heated, add the quinoa to the pan and spread out across the surface. Refrain from stirring as this will allow the quinoa to crisp up. After 2-3 minutes, give the quinoa a stir, season with 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt and 1 tsp smoked paprika and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. On a platter, add a couple heaping handfuls of baby spinach. Top with slaw, then sprinkle toasted quinoa and some sesame seeds over it.