Black Radish and Potato Salad Recipe

Potato Black Radish Salad

The black radish is the Parisian locavore’s nemesis: during the winter, the raphanus sativus var. niger pops up regularly in AMAP* subscribers’ vegetable baskets, and it can be a challenge to put it to good use.

An ancient variety that dates back to antiquity, this mega-radish has a black, coarse skin and a white, almost translucent flesh that’s quite pungent in flavor. It is this characteristic sharpness that earned it the nickname of raifort des Parisiens — Parisians’ horseradish — and makes it generally too assertive to eat on its own.

It is, however, a winter vegetable that rewards the eater with lots of nutritional perks — it is a good source of vitamin C, sulfur, fibers and B vitamins, and it is thought to promote digestive health, detoxify the liver, boost the immune system, and fight aging — so much so that its juice is sold in boxes of drinkable phials that you’re supposed to down before breakfast (isn’t that tempting).

Fortunately, there are ways to tame the sharpness of this superfood and reap its benefits at normal meal hours, and my favorite so far is to grate the flesh and add it raw to all kinds of salads.

Today’s salad is a particularly good final destination for the black radishes that make their way into my vegetable drawer: the sweetness of the potatoes tones down the pungency of the black radish, allowing it to simply illuminate the salad like a zesty condiment. A touch of smoked paprika for depth, a scatter of fresh herbs for clarity, and a good sprinkle of walnuts for crunch, and you’ve got yourself a very satisfying, sunny-winter-day salad.

Next up, I want to try pickling black radishes, tsukemono-style, using directions from Elizabeth Andoh’s beautiful book of vegetarian Japanese cuisine, Kansha — I’ll let you know how that works out.

And naturally, if you want to share your own favorites uses for the black radish, I’d be very interested to hear them!

* AMAP is the French equivalent to CSA.

Black Radish

Black Radish and Potato Salad

– 450 grams (1 pound) small waxy potatoes
– 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of the knife blade
– 1 medium black radish, about 220 grams (1/2 pound) (when buying, make sure it is firm to the touch, not limp nor soft)
– 2 teaspoons honey vinegar or other mild vinegar
– 4 teaspoons olive oil
– 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
– a small bunch of chives, finely snipped
– a few sprigs of parsley, leaves roughly chopped
– the meat from 10 walnuts, crumbled
sea salt, freshly ground pepper

Serves 4.

Scrub the potatoes (no need to peel them) and cut them into small chunks. Place them with the garlic clove in a steamer, sprinkle with salt, and steam for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are just cooked through (the tip of a knife should meet no resistance).

Scrub the black radish (no need to peel it, unless it is old and its skin is really tough) and carve out any crack or hole that may harbor dirt. Grate using the large holes of a box grater. Go through the pile of grated radish and check for any brown bits, which may taste unpleasantly earthy. Place them in a medium salad bowl, sprinkle with salt, toss to coat, and set aside while the potatoes are cooking; the salt will take the edge off the radish.

When the potatoes are cooked, set aside to cool until just slightly warm. Chop the steamed garlic clove finely and add it to the salad bowl. Add the vinegar, oil, and paprika, and toss to combine.

Add the potatoes and the herbs to the bowl, sprinkle with pepper, and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Top with the crumbled walnuts, and serve. Leftovers keep well until the next day.

Cooking/baking time: 10 min

  • http://www.thechubbyvegetarian.com Justin Burks

    I love horseradish and potatoes, so this sounds wonderful to me. Like horseradish does a black radish get milder as it cooks?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m guessing it does, though I don’t think I’ve ever tried cooking it. I get the feeling it would go limp and not too interesting, and also of course, you’d lose all that good vitamin C. :)

  • Stephen

    I am absolutely gobsmacked. A country which disdains the perfect winter vegetable, the parsnip, as animal feed only fit to be eaten by Les Anglais then delights in something that seems to be a cross between a turnip (uuurgh) and horseradish (yum)……..

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I will simply note that the parsnip is disdained no more around here: it is one of those “forgotten vegetables” that have come back in style these past few years!

  • Ruth Adams

    My mother was a great fan of black radishes. She would accordian-slice them very thinly and then salt them generously. After letting them sit for what seems hours, but was probably only 30 minutes, she would press out as much of the juice as she could and then break them into the slices and serve these with charcouterie and fresh bread for a cold supper. Somehow it became a kind of comfort food.

  • dory

    We find a lot of that kind of radish and similar ones at our local food cooperatives this time of year. I never know what to do with them. I have thought of cooking them like a turnip, and have put tiny bits into green salad (they are a bit tough but otherwise fine) but have never thought of potato salad. How creative!

  • http://www.toomanychefs.com Meg

    Clotilde, when I lived in Bavaria, we used to be served these radishes, sliced in a super-thin spiral, in beer gardens. You dipped the radish in a little salt and ate them with a nice Mass of beer. Seriously yummy!

    Anyway, you might want to consider trying it as an apéro. Soaking the radishes in water might help tone down the sharpness, as well as ensuring they are nice and crispy.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the tips, Meg, I like the idea of pairing it with beer, and can imagine how well it would work.

  • http://www.jessicasdinnerparty.com Jessica

    I was wondering how those were eaten! Need to go get some from my local marche.

  • http://croquecamille.wordpress.com Camille

    Thank you for this! I am one of those AMAP subscribers who get stuck with way too many black radishes this time of year. I’ve had good luck incorporating them into stir-fries and gratins, as well as using them as a crunchy component in trout tartare.

  • Mikki

    In our house, we eat them with bread and salted butter. delicious.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That sounds delicious indeed.

  • http://www.MyCottageIndustry.net Leslie

    My French neighbor from the Bordeaux region gave me seeds for these leviathans — she sliced them thinly and served them on a baguette schmeared with Boursin cheese. The garlicky-creamy cheese offsets the extreme sharpness of the radish; I’ve found, year to year, that their pungency varies, perhaps because of weather. Thank you for the potato salad suggestion, sounds lovely!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Great suggestion, thanks Leslie!

  • http://www.dinnersanddreams.net Nisrine

    Clotilde, it’s great to learn about the health benefits of this root vegetable even though I’ve never seen it neither here nor in Morocco. Maybe if I visit Paris in the winter one day…

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Yes, it is definitely a cold climate vegetable!

  • http://www.honeyfromrock.blogspot.com Claudia

    What an intriguing vegetable. I’ve never come across it, but now you have me wanting one.

  • http://sindhirasoi.com Alka

    Black Radish? Never knew such thing exists :-)
    Salad sounds interesting and looks awesome :-)

  • Rachel

    Never having eaten a black radish, I might not be the best person to suggest possible uses but… I wonder how it would taste in a remoulade (either mixed with celeriac or on its own)?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s a very good idea, Rachel. Because it is a little crunchy, I would probably mix it with celeriac for a good mix of textures — it’s definitely worth a try.

  • SaraS

    Thanks for the recipe. We try to eat seasonal food and black radish is one of our favorite winter vegetables. We usually prepare it in a salad with beans or put it in winter stews. You can also finely grate it and make it with creme fraiche to serve with grilled meat (like horseradish sauce).

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Lovely ideas, Sara, thank you!

  • http://yayasyumyums.blogspot.com gummi baby

    I’ve never heard of the black radish, thanks for enlightening me!

  • http://lacaffettierarosa.wordpress.com Caffettiera

    And that is another mystery vegetable at the market sorted! I will try one soon, now that I have ideas on what to do with it.

    Does anybody have suggestions for another type of root vegetable, which is dark like this one, but much thinner and very long? It tastes extremely bitter and I don’t even know its name… Thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It sounds like the vegetable you have in mind is the salsify: I’ve never cooked with it myself (it is said to be a pain to peel, making your hands black and sticky) but a friend once served us salsify fries and they were fantastic.

  • http://www.mahlzeiten.blogspot.com Natasa

    Try it freshly grated and then mixed with either sour cream or yoghurt or a mixture of both, with a pinch of salt and pepper! Delicious!!!

  • http://kellymcmichael.wordpress.com Kelly McMichael

    I’m reading Rowan Jacobson’s “American Terriror” and it supports this idea of local foods having different flavors–so it makes sense that the radish would taste different based not only on location but also on growing conditions for a particular year.

    Such great experiments to be had!

  • juliadevi

    I just got 3 of them in my AMAP box.

    I usually cut them into thin sticks and eat them in a mixed veggie-and-dip plate.

    A friend also serves them cut into relatively thin slices, used as a “cracker” for tapenade.

  • Alice

    When I was a kid my mom used to slice those very thin, coat them in sugar and let stand in the fridge for a couple of days. The sugar would extract juices from the radish that she would then give us as a cold/cough medicine. We would not eat the radish itself (although I am sure Clotilde would come up with a way to use it!).

  • http://thedelightblog.wordpress.com/ Cassandra PW

    Thanks for this post! It motivated me to make one of our favorite black ( or white) radish dishes so that I could finally take a picture and post it … I had written the post a few weeks ago already.

    From reading the comments of others, and my own experience, it would seem like thinly slicing and grating are the key to making radishes edible.

    Our former Chinese babysitter taught me how to sweat out the strong pungent taste of radish by salting it. This works really well. It drains some of the water out of the radish too, making them a bit crunchier.

    We used thinly sliced radishes as a chip replacment for dips… tastes great with homemade tapenade!

    But our favorite recipe is to make radish carpaccio! This is so east and yummy… not to mention very pretty to serve to guests. I do it with paprika too… they marry really well together.

    Ok, so the post is up if you would like to check it out.
    Enjoy

  • http://www.dessertsmagazine.com Jill

    Never had a black radish before…but will try this recipe with red radish.

  • Sara A.

    The first three things that popped in to my head when you said “tastes like horseradish” were what the Jewish community does with bitter tasting vegetables. There’s nothing saying that any of this has to be done with the horseradish.
    1. Passover
    During passover we’re instructed to eat bitter herbs. These change from region to region and then because Maimomedes made a sandwich of charosset and bitter herbs on matzah so do we. Charoset is a paste made of apples, nuts, dried fruit, and red wine that we eat only during passover. The sharpness of the horseradish peeking through the sweetness of the charosset has become a favorite of that time of year.
    2. gefilte fish
    Sweet fish meatballs made of whitefish, salmon, and carrots served cold as an appetizer at most family functions before soup and the main course with horseradish relish. Home made is best, but they are available pre-made in the jar from the store.
    3. that jar in the fridge
    Every Jewish family has a jar of horseradish relish in the fridge. I believe its a mixture of grated beets and grated horseradish. You could always do a plate of sliced beets and sliced black radish. Together the beets lend some sweetness and color to the radish the radish some complexity to the beets. Also once you pickle the radish you could do a pickle plate of pickled beets and pickled radish.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Those are wonderful suggestions, Sara, thanks so much for sharing.

  • Madonna

    That looks like an interesting and delicious recipe. I love radishes in every shape and color, so I’m sure I’d be fond of black radishes. I tried to grow some this year. Unfortunately, the weather was extremely uncooperative. We went from blistering hot, dry summer to a hard freeze almost overnight. So much for my late fall/early winter garden. I’ll try again next year.

  • http://www.inolongerlikechocolates.com Kathie

    I don’t know whether this would work equally well with black radishes, but something I do with large quantities of slightly tough red radishes (one of the perils of home gardening) is to grate them in the food processor, then heap a large mound of them atop some leaf lettuce, and dress with bleu cheese (or Roquefort or Gorgonzola) salad dressing. Yummmm!!!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Great pairing suggestion, Kathie, thanks!

  • http://limecake.net LimeCake

    I have never seen or heard of black radish! They’re kind of sexy, actually. :) I’ll have to stick to red and white radishes, unfortunately. Lovely salad, Clotilde!

  • Sophie

    I like to grate apples, raw beets and black radish in roughly equal quantities (best in fine matchticks with a good mandoline), and dress very simply with a bit of lemon, salt, and pepper; some fresh or dried chervil if I have it on hand. It’s a lovely combination of sweet, tart, peppery, with a nice crunch and color.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That sounds like a wonderful combination, Sophie, thank you for sharing.

  • Hadley

    Clotilde,

    I can’t tell you how pleased I was to see this posting! First of all, I loved the path to get to it: I have just recently moved to the Southwest of France, and I am getting ready to go retrieve my Father and brother in Paris and bring them here for Christmas! So I was looking at Orangette, Molly Weisenberg’s blog, reviewing two recipes I’d seen there before for French-style walnut cake and gateau au fondant chocolat, and I noticed she linked to your blog from the chocolate recipe. (Added fun: Both of you were inroduced to me by my mother, who gave me one of your cookbooks for a birthday.)

    So I hopped on over here, and saw your post about black radishes! I have just recently been introduced to black radishes. Two new friends of mine brought them to our Thanksgiving celebration, and served them very simply–sliced, on top of buttered toast and salted. I have eaten them this way literally almost every day since. They are just SO delicious! I never saw (or maybe noticed) them in the USA, but they are all over the market here. There is even a restaurant down the street from me called “Le Radis Noir.”

    I just love when stories and new discoveries seem to overlap in many places and many different minds. It makes the world seem small, a little magical. I am excited to try your recipe and those posted in other peoples’ comments! Have a good end of the year everyone!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for your kind comment, Hadley!

  • Ellen

    oh my god! finally an answer! i lived in luxembourg last year and saw these at farmer’s markets all winter but could never find an english speaker who knew what it was or what to do with it. thank you for solving the mystery :) if only the answer had come before i returned to ohio, i could have made this salad but c’est la vie. I love the recipes and info on your blog (especially the eatable idioms which add to my minimal grasp of the french language)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Glad to have shed some light on the radish mystery, Ellen, and I hope you get to sample some soon.

  • http://weirdcombinations.com Stevie

    Clotilde

    Could this work with other kinds of radish, as well? This sounds like a wonderful dish to warm you up on a cold winter’s day. Thank you! Happy Holidays!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I have made potato salads with other kinds of radishes, but when I use smaller, sweeter ones, I prefer to cut them into super thin slices with a mandoline, rather than grating them.

  • Heartlandfoodlover

    We have beautiful black radishes in the farmers’ markets here in Minnesota. I love them sliced with a salty, hard cheese such as a nice aged manchego or parmesean style cheese. I have some slices in my lunchbag today with a little local Minnesota cave-aged goat cheddar.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Great pairing suggestion, thanks!

  • Marieem

    Très bon en velouté également. Petit goût poivré très agréable.

  • http://www.lapagefrancaise.com Serena

    Hi Clotilde. I have lately been using black radishes in pressed salads: basically, I slice them very thinly (using the food processor), along with thinly sliced carrot, cucumber, cabbage, etc, add a teaspoon of salt and mix it all for a few minutes with (clean) bare hands until the vegetables start to exude liquid. Then place a plate on top of the mound of salad, fill a tea kettle with cold water, place it on top of the plate and let it “press” the salad for about an hour. Then drain off the liquid and voila, a refreshing crunchy salad. It takes off the sharpness of the black radish so if you like the sharpness this may not be the best recipe, but I find it delightful. I saw this recipe in a macrobiotic cookbook. Bonne année.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s very tempting, Serena. Bonne année à toi aussi !

  • Jacqueline

    Yum! I made this last night with cilantro & pumpkin seeds in place of the chives/parsley & walnuts (as that’s what I had on hand) and my sisters and I all really enjoyed it. The combination of flavors & textures was really pleasant. I think I may try adding a wee bit of lemon next time.

    I enjoyed making it too, the various tasks seemed to stack together in an efficient manner and it wasn’t necessary to dirty the whole kitchen.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m happy to hear it, Jacqueline, thanks for reporting back!

  • http://www.cookingdangerously.com Ann Allchin

    Thanks very much for this recipe! I recently started a blog cooking things I’m unfamiliar with (cookingdangerously.com), so when I picked up some black radishes this week your recipe dressed them up deliciously. I would recommend this dish to anyone. Thanks again! You have a beautiful blog.

  • phyllis

    Thanks for the great ideas for black radishes! This spring I was given many free seed packets, from other countries, and had a great time with my kids, planting our surprise garden. Today I pulled up my radishes, and what a surprise! I hadn’t remembered exactly what was there, but I have two platters of beautiful, big, black radishes, and now some ideas of what to do with them! One other recipe I found was to simply slice them 1/2″ thick, salt and pepper them and saute in butter. I’ll add in some chives or cilantro or basil from the garden too- and will let you know how it turns out! Thanks again for a great blog!

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