In winter, we love to feel the burn.
Fresh horseradish with its rough brown skin, ghostly white daikon and bright red radishes pack varying levels of “heat.”
On blustery days, hot radishes, a staple of cuisines worldwide, open our sinuses and conquer our colds. They stimulate our appetite and make our mouths water. Prime rib and sushi wouldn't be the same without them.
Horseradish, daikon and wasabi -- the most popular of the hot radishes -- share more than common cabbage cousins. They all contain allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), which stimulates our noses as well as our tongues. (Mustard and mustard seed have this compound, too.) Although ingesting too much can be physically painful, this compound also makes us feel warm -- a satisfying asset for any cold-weather food.
"Prepared" horseradish -- the stuff that comes in a jar -- is a mix of fresh grated horseradish preserved with vinegar and seasoned with a little salt and a dash of sugar. To make your own, use 1 cup grated fresh horseradish root to 1/2 cup white, rice or wine vinegar, then season to taste. It will keep in the refrigerator for weeks.
Horseradish also spices up sauces, mashed potatoes and even apple tarts. Eaten in Europe for centuries, it has been part of American cuisine since the first colonists. Pioneers took it to California. Back in Sacramento's gold rush days, Mark Twain likely enjoyed it grated on fresh oysters.
Wasabi, a treasured delicacy in Japan for more than 1,000 years, is a more recent California transplant. With the rise in popularity of sushi and other Japanese cuisine, wasabi -- or wasabi substitute -- has become as prevalent in flavorings as its Western cousin, horseradish.
Horseradish and wasabi are actually closely related; both are members of the cabbage or mustard family. Wasabi is often referred to as "Japanese horseradish." Likewise, horseradish is known in Japan as "Western wasabi." Because wasabi is so expensive, horseradish is often substituted for real green wasabi.
While horseradish is an edible root, true wasabi is made from the plant's rhizomelike stem. Wasabi is a tricky herb to grow; it's native to the banks of ice-cold mountain creeks with its roots constantly bathed in chilly running water. Horseradish is far less finicky. Harvested yearround, it is sweetest and most available in winter and early spring.
Meanwhile, daikon is a dependable (and delicious) workhorse. This oversize radish not only serves as a spicy condiment, but doubles as a salad or root vegetable and is tasty raw or cooked. Daikon's punch is in its peel.
Almost everyone remembers the first time they tried horseradish, wasabi or daikon. That moment usually came with taste bud alarms.
Orange and Radish Salad With Pistachios
2 blood oranges
2 navel oranges
Flaky salt, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
1 bunch red radishes, trimmed
4 ounces daikon radish (about a 5-inch piece)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste
2 tablespoons roasted pistachio oil or olive oil
1/4 cup lightly toasted pistachios
Remove orange peels: Cut off both ends of the oranges. Stand them up on a cut side and remove the rest of the peel and pith by cutting away strips; move your knife down the sides of the orange from top to bottom. Working over a large bowl or a cutting board with a canal for catching juices, and cut oranges, crosswise, into rounds. Place in a bowl and tip in juices. Add salt and chopped mint and toss.
Slice radishes and daikon as thinly as you can. (Use a mandolin or a Japanese slicer if you have one.) Place in separate bowl and sprinkle with salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, agave, cinnamon, cayenne and pistachio or olive oil. Divide evenly among the two bowls with oranges and radishes, and toss.
Arrange oranges and radishes on a serving platter. Just before serving, spoon on the juices and dressing left behind in bowls, and top with pistachios and mint.
Makes 4 servings.
Note: For a juicier salad, toss oranges and radishes together rather than keeping them in separate bowls and skip the slotted spoon. Serve in bowls and sprinkle pistachios on top.
This sugar-free recipe from Jeffrey Deutsch was a finalist in the 2016 St. Louis Post-Dispatch pie contest.
Apple Tart With Horseradish
7 Golden Delicious apples, divided use
Juice of 1 lemon
Dash of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tart shell
4 Gala apples
3 tablespoons of butter
2 ounces bourbon
2 tablespoons honey, optional
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel, core and slice 4 of the Golden Delicious apples. Add the lemon juice, salt, cinnamon and horseradish, and cook at a very low temperature until it forms applesauce, about 20 minutes. Do not rush this step.
Bake tart shell in oven until a light golden brown. Keep the oven on.
Core the remaining 3 Golden Delicious apples and the Gala apples and slice them thin. A bit of lemon juice with keep them from browning. Heat the apples in the microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes to soften them slightly.
When the applesauce is ready, drain any excess juice through a sieve or strainer and place the sauce in the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the sliced apples, alternating red and green, around the edge of the tart shell, standing the apple slices at an angle in the applesauce.
In a small pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the bourbon and cook until reduced by half. Pour gracefully over the top of the completed tart. Bake for 20 minutes.
Cool and serve. If desired, drizzle honey over the top.
Makes 8 servings.
These mashed potatoes go great with meatloaf.
Horseradish and Dill Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon dried dill
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons bottled horseradish
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Place the potatoes in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the temperature to medium-high to maintain a low boil. Cook until tender, about 25 minutes.
During the final 5 to 10 minutes of cooking, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the butter, cream and dill. Once the butter melts, mix well; set aside.
Drain the potatoes. Return them to the pot and mash them.
Use an electric mixer, whisk, or masher to lightly beat the potatoes. Mix in the butter and cream mixture, then the cream cheese and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper.
Makes 6 servings.
Recipe from The Associated Press
If you can break up the timing/prep of this recipe, make the aioli in advance so it's nice and chilled by the time the fish is done.
Fresh horseradish is worth having on hand, so don't be worried if you have to buy a larger piece than is called for here. It brings a bright intensity to the aioli. (The flavor will mellow after a day or two.) Grate it fresh as you need it to make your own cocktail sauce, a dip with sour cream or creme fraiche (for fish, chicken or prime rib); add it to a slaw or mashed potatoes. It lasts in the refrigerator in a food-safe plastic storage bag for weeks; wrap the cut side with a damp paper towel.
You'll have leftover aioli, which can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Serve with a mash of minted fresh peas or new potatoes.
Crispy Salmon With Horseradish Aioli
1 (1-inch piece) fresh horseradish, peeled (see note)
6 leaves flat-leaf parsley
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided use
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 (6-to 8-ounce) salmon filets, skin-on preferred
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Peel the horseradish. Use a Microplane grater or the small-holed side of a box grater to grate the horseradish to yield 2 tablespoons. Mince the parsley to yield 1 tablespoon; set both aside.
In a food processor, combine the egg yolks, salt and water. With the motor running, gradually add the 1/2 cup of canola oil, then the olive oil, to form an emulsion close to the consistency of mayonnaise. Add the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, followed by the grated horseradish and minced parsley. Pulse a few times, just until well incorporated. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until it is quite hot. Meanwhile, pat the salmon dry on all sides. Season salmon lightly with salt and coat lightly in flour, shaking off any excess.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil to the pan or skillet and swirl to coat. Add the salmon, skin side down. Cook for about 3 minutes, then turn.
Transfer the pan or skillet to the oven and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through but not yet flaky. Divide among individual plates.
Serve warm, passing the chilled aioli at the table.
Makes 4 servings.
Note: Can substitute 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish in a pinch, but the flavor will be considerably mellower.
Adapted from In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks by Ted Allen
Food on 02/22/2017
Print Headline: Radish rush