Saturday, February 22, 2014

Quick Pickled Daikon Salad

The other day, my mother in law picked out some beautiful daikon for me at the Asian market, and put them in my cart. They were young, and tender, so full of promise. I love daikon, but have no idea how to cook it so it doesn't come out bitter and nasty. I planned on having her cook them for me, but then...Life. My kids got sick, which got her sick, which meant we didn't see her for a few days, and before I knew it I was in danger of losing my daikon and PANIC! Google to the rescue - since daikon are simply really big white radishes, as far as I can tell, they can easily translate to other cuisines. I found a recipe that made a salad from daikon and carrots. Well, it sounded tasty enough, so I tweaked it for what I had on hand...and it was delicious. I mean, it was tasty the day I made it, but when we finally finished it off today (three days later), it was divine. Kids? Go find some daikon. You will thank me.

Daikon come in varying sizes, depending on how old they are. The daikon I used were on the skinny side, meaning they were younger. They were so sweet you could eat them raw and plain. Older, fatter, daikon isn't tasty raw, or plain. It is spicy and a tad bitter. Those daikon are delicious stewed, which is another recipe for another day. 


Quick-Pickled Daikon Salad

3 young daikon (about 2" across and 18" long)
1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger (grate on a microplane, if possible)
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
1 green onion, chopped

Peel the skin off the daikon with a vegetable peeler, and then slice them into 1/4" thick rounds. (Taste the daikon first - if it is sweet, go 1/4" thick. If it is extra spicy or bitter, go thinner. You can also choose to shave the daikon with a food processor or your vegetable peeler.) 

Put the sliced daikon into a colander, toss it with 2 pinches of salt, and set it aside to drain. It won't lose a lot of water, but set it in the sink to be safe.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your grated ginger, rice vinegar, and line juice. While whisking, slowly drizzle in your olive oil, then your toasted sesame oil. Add your daikon rounds, and stir to coat. Add sugar, to taste. Add the green onions and stir to combine. 

Can be served immediately, or left in the refrigerator to further blend the flavors. Eat within 3-4 days. Stir well before serving.