Black radishes, sunchokes and an assorted basket of cocktail citrus that included the likes of mandarinquats, limequats and small Mexican limes were some of my top farmers’ market finds this week.
They’re likely not items on your everyday shopping list. But one of the best aspects of roaming through the weekly farmers’ markets is finding these hidden gems, which give us the opportunity to experience new flavors and textures.
Of these finds, it is the black radishes that are probably the most stunning when it comes to physical appearance. They possess a truly black skin, which wraps around the cream-colored flesh.
The flavor of this radish variety is nowhere near subtle when eaten raw, with notes of spicy, bitter, earthiness throughout. This pungent root veggie tends to have a sharper flavor than most other radish varieties you will encounter, in particular the small red variety that often ends up in mixed green salads or sliced thin and enjoyed with Mexican style cuisine.
To mellow out the flavor a bit, one can cook their black radishes, transforming them from crunchy to soft.
Personally, I enjoy the pungent flavor of black radishes, and often shred them and toss in my salads and slaws. While the skin makes for quite a stunning presentation, peeling them does help to reduce some of the bitterness.
For cooked preparations, I typically enjoy them roasted or sautéed along with other seasonal roots vegetables and brassicas. I find they pair quite well with apples and nuts, fresh herbs, and a finishing of olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.
This week I prepared a roasted black radish dish infused with some of my mandarinquats and roasted sunchokes, incorporating all three of my farmers market finds.
Roasted Black Radish and Sun-chokes with Mandarinquats
2 black radish, rinsed and diced small.
3 medium sunchokes, peeled and diced into small pieces.
2 medium beets, peeled and diced into small pieces.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for finishing.
Salt and pepper.
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, very finely chopped.
2 green onions, finely diced.
3 mandarin quats, sliced very thin (make sure to discard any seeds, which can also use kumquats or limequats).
1/4 cup raw pistachio kernels.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, toss together black radish, sunchokes and beets with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Place on a baking sheet, then place in the oven. Roast for about 20 minutes and check the tenderness.
You will likely need to toss and roast for another 5-10 minutes or until just soft. Remove from heat and let sit to room temperature. Then toss mixture with mandarinquats, cilantro, green onion and raw pistachio kernels. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little additional olive oil. I also like to finish with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.
Yield: Serves 3