{Recipe: Black Radish and Grapefruit Salad}

What a terrible mistake I’d made.  It burned, as if I had just consumed a massive amount of wasabi.  The pain wasn’t instant.  It was subtle at first, but then the damn thing attacked.  I frantically looked around the kitchen, opening all the drawers and cabinets to see what I could put in my mouth to cure myself of the agony.  I needed something… anything, really.  But as soon as the burning reached its pinnacle, it began to subside.

This was my first experience with black radish.

The black radish is the bad big brother to the red radish we are all familiar with.  In size and in punch, this is so much bolder than what I’ve ever had.  There’s that bite that hits you, a combo of black pepper and horseradish, but the effect is tenfold to what you get with the little guys.

My original concept of a raw salad was out.  I’m sure there’s a way to mellow the suckers, but I wasn’t ready to head in that direction… not in my first go around, at least.  But a salad was what I was in the mood for and, by golly, I wasn’t going to let the radish stop me from having what I wanted!

The pan came out, a drizzle of oil and a light seasoning of salt (no pepper, just to be safe).  They browned so beautifully around the edges and, after just a few minutes, I had my salad composed. Segmented grapefruit, caramelized shallots, a handful of pinenuts… and my slices of cooked black radishes, no longer the bad boys they once were.  My new friends.

A quick update: I wanted to congratulate Maja of Mulipuli and Heather of Farm Girl Gourmet for winning the copies of the La Tartine Gourmande cookbook!  Congrats!

Note: I did not peel the radishes, though some places I’ve seen it recommended (I am not sure why, exactly).  You should, of course, clean them properly, as I make mention to in the recipe.

Black Radish and Grapefruit Salad

serves 2


1 black radish, scrubbed with a vegetable brush and washed under cold water

1 red grapefruit, segmented

1 shallot, sliced thinly

1/4 cup pine nuts

6-8 lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Black pepper


1. Slice the black radish into 1/4 inch rounds using a mandoline (or very carefully with a knife).

2. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan and set over medium heat.  When the oil has heated, add the slices of black radish in a single layer (you may need to cook them in batches depending on the size of the pan) and season with a sprinkle of salt.  Cook for a few minutes on either side, or until each side has browned around the edges.  Transfer the slices to a plate that has been layered with paper towel.

3. Sauté the shallots in the same pan for a minute or so, just so they start to caramelize.  Remove from heat.

4. Assemble your salad by placing the lettuce in one layer on a large round platter. Place the black radish on top of the lettuce, then the grapefruit segments.  At this point, sprinkle with the cooked shallot and then the pine nuts.  Season with another pinch of salt and a few cracks of fresh black pepper.


  • February 19, 2012 - 12:06 am

    Jaime {sophistimom} - I had never had a black radish before I tried juicing one—something I, of course, will never do again. So clever of you to cook it first. I bet it was worlds better than my first experience. And you’ve inspired me to give them another try.ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 1:32 am

    Kulsum at JourneyKitchen - what the hell is black radish! Now I want to try one. I have recently acquired taste for radishes and I have been buying them for ages since they look so pretty! I love the first picture!ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 8:07 am

    Maureen - I’ve never heard of a black radish but this salad looks beautiful!

    Sorry about the burny incident. I’m glad you did that for us so we won’t get burned when we try to use black radishes (if we can ever find them.)ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 9:33 am

    Marnely Rodriguez - Definitely an interesting ingredient I’ve never seen! Salad looks great!ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 10:01 am

    Maria - That salad is a work of art! Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 10:37 am

    katherine - I’ve never seen a black radish before! How wonderful. I love the idea of cooking the radish a bit, and then to serve with grapefruit? Perfection.ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 10:46 am

    rebecca - he he sorry can’t help but smile great salad thoughReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 11:02 am

    Jenice - Beautiful dish. The black radish seems to take this simple salad to a whole new level. Looks delicious.ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 11:50 am

    Andrew Frishman - MMnn. . . I LOVES me some radish, especially when it’s radishous.

    No necesitamos un crisol de culturas, necesitamos una ensalada de frutas.ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 12:01 pm

    Ken┃hungry rabbit - I knew you were drawn to bad boys. Add a little heat and they are ready for your pleasure.ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 4:39 pm

    Liren - What a fantastic way to tame the black radish – very smart :) I can just imagine how lovely the heat was in the crisp salad, Brian!ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 6:24 pm

    Kimmy - Lighter and Local - I’ve a) never seen a black radish b) never peel radishes, why should you if you clean them? I just read another radish post and I have to say, I love the love. Big fan of the radish and the turnip. Both very misaligned little vegetables.ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 6:24 pm

    Kimmy - Lighter and Local - I’ve a) never seen a black radish b) never peel radishes, why should you if you clean them? I just read another radish post and I have to say, I love the love.ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 9:42 pm

    Kiri W. - This is visually absolutely stunning! I have never had black radish, but I would love to try this elegant salad.ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 10:33 pm

    Lori @ RecipeGirl - That is a thing of beauty. I certainly have never seen or heard of a black radish. How odd that it’s so spicy like horseradish! I never would have thought to sauté it. Love where it ultimately ended up. It’s too pretty to eat :)ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2012 - 10:45 pm

    Lora @cakeduchess - I bet they were spicy! Very cool photos and I love the spice from the radishes with the pinoli earthiness and tart grapefruits. My kind of salad:)ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2012 - 12:42 am

    Simone - I’ve never even heard of black radishes! But they sound like some mean things..;) your salad looks gorgeous though and I hope a little less sharp then the raw version!ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2012 - 4:32 am

    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - Ooo, I have yet to try black radish. Now you’ve got me interested…ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2012 - 8:27 am

    Sia @ Monsoon Spice - black radish?! oh WOW! I have never heard or seen any black radish and now I’m really eager to taste one!ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2012 - 10:50 am

    Amanda - What a gorgeous, fresh salad. Love!ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2012 - 11:49 am

    Monet - Yet another recipe that makes me thankful I know you. Your culinary explorations inspire me! I want to try black radish…but that heat is intimidating! I’m sorry I’ve been a bit absent…we’ve been traveling to and from Houston, and I’ve gotten behind in my reading. Thank you for sharing with me, my friend…as always, delicious!ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2012 - 4:45 pm

    MikeVFMK - This salad looks delightful, friend! I can only imagine how good the it tastes and love the black radish/grapefruit combination.ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2012 - 6:22 pm

    Jill Mant~a SaucyCook - Oh I just feel so guilty. I had a wonderful weekend with my husband who is such a great guy and now I come here and fall in love with you! You had me at the luscious photographs, but then you have to write well too. It’s all just too much. I must try this recipe.ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2012 - 8:48 pm

    Jeanette - I’ve never seen black radish before, but I love the contrast.ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2012 - 9:28 pm

    Che Us - I adore radishes; pink, red, white and watermelon ones. I often look at black radishes. I pick them up. I think about it. I put them down. Just was not sure what to do with them. Now I know …. cook and make into a refreshing citrus salad. It looks lovely!ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2012 - 8:32 am

    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes - Definitely a thing of beauty – I am such a fan of your photography. Thanks for sharing, Brian. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2012 - 9:55 am

    Jeanne @ CookSister! - Oh wow! I’ve seen black radishes but I didn’t realise the taste differs so radically from red radishes! Also amazing what a difference a little cooking can make. Love the colours and flavours on this plate :)ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2012 - 10:31 am

    Geraldine Saucier - What a beautiful salad:) The pictures were fantastic:) ongratulations on Foodbuzz Top 9.ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2012 - 10:31 am

    Geraldine Saucier - What a beautiful salad:) The pictures were fantastic:) Congratulations on Foodbuzz Top 9.ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2012 - 10:39 am

    skip to malou - I could just imagine how burnt your toungue was… i had a similar experience thought not with black radish but rather it was horseradish. I mistakenly thought it was mayo so I placed a generous amount to my burger and gosh di i find myself strutting around the kitchen trying to shield my toungue being burnt haha.

    I love the combo of vegies in your salad. Im a big fan of grapefruit too.

    Congrats on Foodbuzz today, and glad to “meet” you!

  • February 21, 2012 - 11:48 am

    Suzanne - Simple and delicious, I love these kinds of recipes. I thought from looking at the photo the grapefruit was some kind of fish, LOL! Anyway congrats on the top 9ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2012 - 12:09 pm

    Donna - Beautiful!..Question: Could you spray the slices lightly with olive oil and bake them instead of frying?..I always burn the goods using the pan-frying method!!ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2012 - 1:05 pm

    naomi - I’ve never even heard of black radishes-but holy wow, I love the pictures! Of course the salad, like all your food, looks delicious.ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2012 - 3:53 pm

    Cucina49 - That is a truly fabulous salad–and thanks for the advice on the black radishes! I’ve never seen them before.ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2012 - 4:01 pm

    Margaret - I never had a black radish, but now I can’t wait to try. Thanks for introducing me to a new ingredient. As always, your pictures are gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2012 - 10:16 pm

    Kristen - You always come up with the most fascinating recipes using the most unique ingredeints. This is simply beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • February 22, 2012 - 12:43 am

    Christine - Beautiful salad.ReplyCancel

  • February 22, 2012 - 12:44 am

    Lana - Brian, you described the black radish splendidly! It’s stealthy and sneaks up on you, but it’s not unbearable – you just have to be prepared for the “attack”:)
    Our shredded version, mellowed out by rinsing in water and combined with leeks is a part of many winter celebratory meals, as it cuts through the heartiness of some heavy dishes.
    But I really like your idea of taming it a bit with some caramelization.
    It is not an easy ingredient to find, but I will be looking for it soon. I am too intrigued now to taste it in cooked form.ReplyCancel

  • February 22, 2012 - 8:10 am

    Joanne - These are definitely the radish that you do NOT want to find yourself alone with in a secluded alley. But that you totally want, seared, and gracing your salad. Love this combination of flavors! I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for these radishes!ReplyCancel

  • February 22, 2012 - 12:05 pm

    Cookin' Canuck - I have never tried a black radish, but am glad I read your fire-breathing warning before the opportunity came up! It looks as though you conquered the little bugger and made it play nicely in this beautiful salad.ReplyCancel

  • February 22, 2012 - 1:09 pm

    Carolyn - I’ve never seen black radishes, but they look amazing in both your salad and your photographs!ReplyCancel

  • February 23, 2012 - 12:41 pm

    Maja - I really love this salad! I need tot ry this :)ReplyCancel

  • February 23, 2012 - 8:09 pm

    Jen Laceda - what a piece of work, this salad! so beautiful! have not seen a black radish in my local market but will keep my eyes open for them.ReplyCancel

  • February 24, 2012 - 12:47 am

    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com - Wow, I’ve never came across of black radish before. Love how gorgeous and delicious is this salad. I recently made a kohlrabi & grapefruit salad. It was amazing :)ReplyCancel

  • February 24, 2012 - 7:11 pm

    Lina @ Chopping Vegetables - I love black radishes, but also made the mistake the first time of trying them raw! They’re sooo smooth and gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • February 25, 2012 - 7:41 am

    {Gail} A Stack of Dishes - Words to the wise. A gorgeous salad and I bet the bite with the tart/sweet citrus is divine. Beautifully done!ReplyCancel

  • February 26, 2012 - 8:50 pm

    Kita - Are black radishes something I will be able to find locally or are they more of a specialty item. I love the simple zing of a radish and would love to try these kicked up babies.ReplyCancel

  • May 17, 2012 - 1:18 am

    Green Pea, Avocado and Radish Sandwiches | Apron Strings - […] you know you can roast radishes? And have you tried black radishes? How about instant radish pickles? Or radish leaf pesto?  So many ways to eat these roots of a […]ReplyCancel

  • February 4, 2013 - 4:56 am

    Somewhat Weekly Recipe: Smashed Sunchokes | beyond back creek - […] CSA that is a little daunting to use.  I’ve been perplexed by Romanesco, celery root, and black radish at first.  There have been vegetables that I’ve been just overwhelmed with when the season […]ReplyCancel

  • July 8, 2013 - 7:03 pm

    Grapefruit and Avocado Salad Recipe - […] Black Radish and Grapefruit Salad from A Thought for Food […]ReplyCancel

  • January 5, 2015 - 12:02 am

    Black Radish Slaw with Toasted Quinoa » A Thought For Food - […] 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 […]ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *