Saturday, May 16, 2015

Radishes in Chili Oil

Mark your calendars for Sunday June 7th, which will be the first day of the sixth season of the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, 10 AM - 2 PM on the corner of Agate St. and 19th Ave. Last year I marked the announcement of the market start date with a number of radish recipe ideas, and here's an addition to that list from Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice: radishes in chili oil.

In the same spirit of the French dish of radishes and salted butter, this recipe uses soy sauce and oil to both brighten and temper the radishes' bite, but in this case their mild spiciness is enhanced with fiery chiles. First, to release some of the radishes' liquid, you need to pummel them a bit (I tapped them with a meat tenderizer) and give them a coating of salt. While they sweat, mix up sugar, soy sauce, sesame and chili oils, then drain and toss them in this rich coating. For a root to shoot approach to our radishes, I blanched the greens and tossed them with a sesame sauce Dunlop uses for spinach, similar to this gomae recipe. These made delicious vegetable sides for Eric's famous Ma Po Doufo and our child labor-enabled cabbage and pork dumplings. You can look forward to lots more delicious spring vegetables at the start of the Fairmount Market June 7th.

Radishes in Chili Oil
from Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice
2 bunches small red radishes, trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons chilli oil with its sediments
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1. Lightly smack the radishes with the side of a cleaver, a rolling pin, or a meat tenderizer; the idea is to crack them open, not to smash them to smithereens.

2. Pile the cracked radishes in a bowl, add the salt, and toss well. Set aside for 30 minutes.

3. Combine the sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the chili and sesame oils.

4. When you’re ready to eat, drain the radishes—they will have released a fair amount of water—and shake them dry. Pour the chile oil mixture over the radishes and toss to mix well and serve.

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