Plated+Served: Simply Rad


No one likes to be pigeon-holed.

We all like to believe we are unique, different and special. Yet, when you think of radishes, what comes to mind? A round red ball on a crudité platter, right? How sad.

Yup, Mama’s here once again to stand up for the maligned and neglected in the vegetable world. Today I’m defending radishes… those pungent crisp black, red, purple, pink and white root veetables. I’ll bet you thought they only came in red… see what I mean?

Radishes can make any dish pop, especially if you venture past the ubiquitous red globe radish. For example, watermelon radishes are about the size of turnip, with a light pink interior and fushia veins. It is sweet and crunchy and so beautiful.

Black Spanish radishes have a dull, rough dark skin with a shockingly white flesh that is tangy and hot when eaten raw, but becomes milder when cooked. Yes, cooked. You do know that radishes are excellent when sautéed and stir fried, don’t you?

You’ve probably had cooked radishes and not even known it, especially if you eat Asian cuisine, where daikon radishes are a staple. These long, white radishes can weigh up to 3 lbs. and grow to 18 inches in length. They’ve been making regular appearances in our supermarkets for the past few years (don’t mistake them for parsnips!). Daikons really look like what we think of as roots, but don’t buy them if they are wrinkled and look dry.

When you’re buying radishes of any shape or color, look for crisp, green leaves (if they haven’t been removed) and firm bulbs. Store them unwashed in the fridge for up to a week. If they get a little soft, put them in an ice bath in the fridge for a few hours… that’ll crispen them up.

Fun facts to know and use: The word radishes comes from the Latin word for root, radix. They are packed with Vitamin C… they have 42% as much as oranges. They are in the cabbage family. Mustard oils are responsible for their spicy taste. (That’s it, I’m done.)

When radishes are in season (now… late summer, even though they are grown year round), I love to “pickle” them and serve them with everything. Number 2 son Matthew suggested the other night topping a burger with this mixture… that seems like a great idea.

Be aware that after a few days in the fridge (if this delicious salad lasts that long), the mixture turns a crazy pink color as the colors of the radishes and cabbage blend. I think that actually makes it more festive.

Festive and radishes…now there’s two words nobody ever puts together in the same sentence.  Trust me on this one…radishes CAN be the life of the party.

Radish Salad on top of Poached Salmon and Mussels




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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: