Black Spanish radish

The problem with being a food blogger is that people assume you know what to do with all kinds of crazy ingredients. The upside is that you occasionally end up with crazy ingredients to figure out what to do with.

Such was the case this past weekend when we inherited a black Spanish radish from her CSA box, along with some kale and bok choy. “If anyone knows what to do with it,” she said, “you two would.” Why, of course we do.

OK, no we don’t, or didn’t. Admittedly, at first I was intimidated by this new creature, this charcoal-black, apostrophic, striated monster the size of both fists. But it’s just a radish, right?

As a matter of fact, yes, it sort of is. A big, black radish. That it’s also evidently Spanish is beside the point. But a quick Googling uncovered a trove of recipes for said radish, from Mariquita Farms, no doubt where this beast came from in the first place.

My first concern was that it could not be eaten raw, but as it turns out that’s not the case. I selected the last recipe, a simple Korean-inspired slaw.

The radish’s ominous blackness belies its snowy white interior; its skin is in fact extremely thin and easy to peel away. The recipe called for the radish to be cut to matchsticks, salted, rinsed and drained, then dressed in a basic dressing of rice vinegar, sugar, red pepper, garlic and scallion.

DPaul had brought home a Rosie; he cut away half of it for future use, and removed the back and wings for a quick stock to use through the next few days’ cooking. That left us a lovely half-breast and leg to roast up.


I know, that breast looks insanely huge, and it is. It is on the bone still, however, and I did only eat half of it (give or take).

So. The radish tastes like … radish. It has a pronounced pepperiness and earthiness. The one thing is that it is a fair bit tougher than your standard French radish, and so if I had this to do over, I would have finely grated the thing instead of julienning it. Live and learn.

The dressing, however, is pretty satisfying, bright and spicy against the dark earthiness of the tuberous interloper and a pleasant foil to the savory chicken and its crsipy skin. It would perform as well as a slaw dressing for any crunchy, shredded veg, like celery root or even just plain old cabbage. It makes sense, really, since the Koreans are no strangers to cabbage.

A slab of Acme bread and a glass of chablis finished the job nicely, thank you very much, a kingly dinner made from the most humble of ingredients. Now, where can I get my hands on another one?

  • Black Radish — a first for me! did your dressing have mustard to tenderize it?

  • Well played! Looks like a wonderful dinner.

  • Lydia: No, no mustard, just rice vinegar, sugar, pepper flake, scallion and garlic. I think the only thing that tenderizes in mustard anyway is the vinegar, no?
    Jennifer: It was quite good — simple and satisfying.