The slightly spicy vegetable, a cousin of the cabbage and the king of pinzimonio and salads
⏱ 4 MINUTES READING
From April to October the red radishes, with their green stem, make a fine show of themselves at the greengrocer while in the fruit and vegetable area of the large-scale distribution you can find them in the form of snacks, already washed and cleaned inside plastic trays: they are smaller in size and are less spicy than the more “rustic” ones, with the leaves, the sand and the final “tail”.
A COUSIN OF THE CABBAGE
The radish is the root of Raphanus sativus, a species belonging to the Brassicaceae or Cruciferous family, the extended family that includes cabbage, turnips, mustard but also the oriental horseradish.
Science explains that it is a very precious vegetable and an ally of health, especially during the summer, when we need light and easily digestible vegetables: 100 g of radishes provide only 15 calories and are an important source of beta-carotene.
If eat raw, radish is a good source of C vitamin and with its high content of carotenoids it is important for the synthesis of collagen, a protein good for connective tissues: in short, they are better than an anti-wrinkle cream!
They also help to ensure a good metabolism by providing B vitamins; the potassium protects the heart and the calcium protects the bones. Finally, it has diuretic and purifying properties and since ancient times radish was crunched to help sleep.
Radish has slightly spicy taste, vaguely reminiscent of mustard. It is usually eaten raw, in summer pinzimoio, such as the traditional bagnè ‘nt l’euli in Piedmont or cazzimperio from Lazio, and to give a crunchy touch to mixed salads.
Once washed and sliced, remember to leave it for a few minutes in water and ice to keep it nice and crunchy.
We usually use the red central body and we completely forget the leaves which, in some areas of Northern and Eastern Europe, are used to enrich summer soups.The leaves are an important indicator of freshness: when they are sagging they will suggest us not to consume the radish because too old.
I suggest you to buy radish in small quantities because it should not be left too long in the refrigerator; the precious organoleptic qualities will vanish in two or three days.
Cooked radish is equally tasty and original in preparations. The taste will allow you to use it in a wider variety of dishes as it partially loses its characteristic spiciness.
In fact, it takes on a more elegant character, combined for example with shallots and freshly stewed and glazed red onions, to be served as a side dish for steamed meats and fish, perhaps with some pumpkin seeds or nigella to embellish every single bite.
Even the leaves, as we said, are a precious ingredient: use them raw as a fresh seasoning for pasta or in salads.If you cook them, they became protagonists in pesto, omelettes, soups or in vegetable creams thanks to the addition of potatoes or courgettes (less caloric and rich in starch).
The recipes in this issue, which welcomes the hottest season of the year, are very fast and will allow you to let your guests travel through taste. Enjoy!
Anna Maria Pellegrino
Chef and Foodblogger
FATTOUSH: PALESTINIAN SALAD... IN AN ITALIAN STYLE
Fattoush is the Palestinian salad par excellence, which has as many variations as many are the families who prepare it. It comes in a thousand ways and in all seasons, as the ingredients can be replaced, eliminated, added to your liking but with a single constant: the Arabic style bread softened by yogurt. In this version I decided not to use the tomato so as to leave the salad softer, fresher and more pleasantly spicy.
DOSES for 4 people
COURSE: single dish
PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes + resting time
250 g arabic style bread or pita bread
150 g kefir or plain yogurt slightly diluted with milk
250 g feta aged in barrel
200 g cucumber
150 g red onion
smoked salt in flakes
Cubes the bread and let it rest for 15 ‘, mixing it in a glass bowl with the kefir.
Peel the cucumbers and dice them. Clean and finely slice the radishes. Cut the red onion into very thin strips. Drain and dice the feta. Wash the basil leaves.
Add the feta cheese, half of the vegetables and basil leaves to the bread softened with kefir. Season with salt if needed.
Divide the fattoush into four bowls and finish the preparation with the remaining ingredients and a sprinkle of pepper before serving.
A SUMMER, LIGHT AND SLIGHTLY SPICY QUICHE
A quiche during this hot season? Of course, as long as the ingredients are light, such as the brisée pastry made with water, the light ricotta filling and the freshly glazed and delicious radishes. A slice is enough... and it’s suitable also for a lunch at the seaside!
DOSES for 4 people
COURSE: main course or single dish
PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes + resting time
COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
> FOR THE BASE:
170 g type 1 flour
80 g salted butter
3 spoons of fresh water
> FOR THE FILLING:
200 g light ricotta by Perenzin
300 g radishes
10 radish leaves
1 spoon of brown sugar
40 g toasted sliced almonds
40 g whole chopped almonds
1 organic egg
extra virgin olive oil and salt in flakes
For the brisée: in the blender, mix the butter with the flour until you get a sandy mixture, add the water and blend for a few more seconds. Work the mixture briefly, form a loaf, wrap it in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 30’.
Clean and cut the radishes into wedges. Wash and chop the leaves. In a pan, sauté the radishes over high heat with oil, allowing them to lightly brown, add the salt, sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water. Lower the heat and let the water consume: they will be cooked but crunchy.
Preheat the static oven to 190 °C.
In a bowl, mix the ricotta with the egg, the chopped leaves, the almonds, salt and pepper.
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and line a pan with a diameter of 20-22 cm, distribute the filling, fold and decorate with the remaining dough.
Bake in the preheated oven, low it to 180 °C and cook for 30’ or until the surface is golden brown.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool, spread the caramelized radishes on the surface, sprinkle with sliced almonds and serve with a light salad.
AN ORIGINAL CHICKEN SALAD
Time to sauté the shallots and radishes in two separate pans and voilà: your elegant salad that let you remind a Nice salad is ready. Smoked chicken enriched with aromatic herbs will be the main ingredient and the touch of light. Together with the crunchiness of the hazelnuts, it creates a healthy, good and also chromatically appealing dish.
DOSES for 4 people
COURSE: main course
PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 10 minutes
250 g shallots
250 g radishes
400 g smoked chicken breast
120 g mixed salad
50 g hazelnuts
2 tea spoons of brown sugar
extra virgin olive oil
smoked salt in flakes
black pepper freshly ground
Clean and cut the shallot into wedges and repeat the operation with the radishes.
In two separate pans, sauté the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil with high heat, making sure that they are lightly browned. Add the salt, sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water.
Lower the heat and let the water consume: they will be cooked but crunchy. Slice the chicken breast, then toasts and coarsely chops the hazelnuts.
In a bowl, slightly season the mixed salad, adding half of the vegetables and proceed to the composition of the dish: divide into four bowls, finish with the remaining vegetables and the chicken, decorate with hazelnuts and a grind of black pepper. Accompany the dish with bread sheets or steamed spelt.