Discovering the Black Radish and the Chioggia Beet

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

Such was the case this week’s veggie box when I inherited some Black Spanish Radishes from my CSA box, along with some Chioggia Beets.

OK, admittedly, at first I was very intimidated by this new viver, this charcoal-black, with leather suede-textured-skin vegetable. I took my trusty chef knife and sliced delicately and deliberately down the centre to see what exactly was inside, and quickly discovered a creamy white interior.  Putting it up to my nose very quickly deducted this was a radish!  So, what to do with it? But it’s just a radish, right?

I went off to do my research with my best friend Google.  As it turns out you can do lots of amazing things with this weird member of the radish family.

This black radish can be cooked like a turnip, creamed and served as a side dish, sautéed and braised to be served as a vegetable dish, or added to stir fry dishes. The skin is generally removed prior to preparing. It can also be served raw to be used as hors d’oeuvres, as a complement to salads and sandwiches or diced for use in soups and stews. If the pungency is too strong, it can be reduced by salting and washing the radish to draw out the peppery flavor, by steaming the radish for 5 to 10 minutes, or by baking the radish with other vegetables. When selecting, choose radishes that are firm, crisp, and without blemishes. Store without the leafy tops and place in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic to keep fresh for several weeks. Turnips can be a good substitute for a Black radish if the recipe does not need the earthy, peppery flavor of the Black variety. This radish is also referred to as a Spanish Black radish.

Chioggia Beets are red and white striped beets that are much sweeter than the regular garden variety of beet.  It looks like christmas candy when you peel and slice them.  So festive and fun to present at the table.  Like any other beet, it can be prepared the same way; steamed, sauteed, roasted, and pickled. The greens are also edible. Sadly, the beautiful stripes fade when the beet is cooked.

Have you ever wanted to make your own version of Terra Chips?  I think this combination attempts to come sort of close….

BLACK RADISH AND CHIOGGIA BEET CHIPS

  • 2 large black radishes
  • 2 large chioggia beets
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 425F. Grease a baking dish (unless it is non-stick).  Wash and scrub the radishes and beets. Peel them with a vegetable peeler, leaving half of the peel in stripes if desired.  Slice the radishes and beets thinly – very thin slices will be more chip-like, slightly thicker slices will be moister – and put the slices on the baking dish.  Pour a little olive oil, a little vinegar, sprinkle salt, pepper and red pepper flakes over top. Toss with a wooden spoon to coat. Pour and sprinkle more if necessary, until all the slices look comfortably dressed – but not drenched.  Arrange on baking sheet so they just touch each other.  Put in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes, until the chips are golden and their edges start to crisp up. Serve warm, as an appetizer or a side.

RED DEVIL CAKE

  • 1 1/4 cups beet purée, steamed or roasted and done in a food processor
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously oil the baking pan (9 inch square or round pan). In a large bowl, beat the eggs well.  Thoroughly whisk in the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt and beet purée until very smooth.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time, whisking until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan. Serve topped with confectioners sugar, whipped cream, or frosting.

RADISH SLAW

This could also be good without the cabbage.

  • 2-3 black Spanish radishes, scrubbed and grated
  • 3 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup coarsely grated carrots, any color
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green or red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or mint leaves

In a bowl toss together the radishes, the cabbage, the carrots, the onion, the lemon juice, the sugar, the oil, the herb, and salt and pepper to taste.

BRAISED BLACK RADISHES

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound radishes (trimmed, peeled, and cut into chunks)
  • 1/2 cup or more white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves (finely chopped, divided)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves (finely chopped, divided)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Combine the olive oil, butter, radishes, and wine in a saucepan, half the herbs, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers; cook until the radishes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes, checking once or twice and adding extra wine as needed.  Uncover and raise the heat to boil off almost all the liquid, so that the vegetable becomes glazed in the combination of butter and pan juices; this will take 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; add the rest of the herbs and lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

CREAM OF RADISH SOUP

create a unique and creamy winter soup!

  • 4-6 cups black radishes, peeled & sliced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp butter or margarine
  • 3 cups lowfat milk, warm or rice milk or milk substitute
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Parsley

In a skillet, sauté onions and radishes in 2 tbsp. butter or margarine until both are limp. Put vegetables in blender and process until smooth.  In a medium pot, melt 2 tbsp. butter or margarine, stir in flour, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add milk all at once and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat and stir until thickened.  Add vegetables, salt, pepper, and parsley.

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4 Responses to Discovering the Black Radish and the Chioggia Beet

  1. tina wiebe says:

    can i bye black radishes somewhere

  2. Pingback: Houston Local Box: Cool as a Cucumber | Greenling | Houston

  3. Pingback: Cherry Belle Radish | Landscaping - Gardening

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