Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quick Radish Pickle

So apparently you can pickle vegetables merely by adding salt and then waiting a little while as the water is drawn from the cells. This quick pickling method can take as little as 5 minutes if you are David Chang, or it can take longer, but my sense is that it's up to the pickler to decide how long the pickling will take.

Not long ago I ate dinner at a friend's house and he served napa cabbage quick pickled in salt, and it was delicious. I resolved to do some quick pickling of my own. And so the other day I found myself with a trio of radishes, and tried my first quick pickle. I used one each of daikon, the large and somewhat mild carrot-shaped radish, watermelon radish, which is a colorful and very mild radish, and the very pungent green meat radish. I harbored the secret hope that the bright colors and taming effect of pickling might induce my children to try the radishes.

I peeled them and sliced them in half and quarter moons, and added maybe a bit more than a tablespoon of coarse kosher salt. Tossed well, and let them sit for a half hour. They were delicious immediately, so this actually was not so easy to do.
A half hour later the radishes had lost some of their luminous color and their firm crunch, but were delicious in a different, mellower way.

I served them as a side dish with a dinner of breaded and fried chicken thighs and soba noodles. Both daughters tried them - they went for the watermelon radish, which shouldn't be a surprise. My younger one may actually have liked it, although she elected to mimic her older sister in expressing her dismay at the radish's flavor. I thought they were delicious. The next day I tossed the leftovers in a few drops of sesame oil, and that was some serious deliciousness. There will be more of this quick pickling happening in my house.

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