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Monday
Apr252011

Meet the vibrant watermelon radish... the star of my locally grown organic salad

 

After the chocolate licentiousness from last week, I thought I'd share with you a good for your body/good for the earth "organic salad" or as the French would say "de la salade biologique."  As you well know, I adore Worden Farm, the organic farm that provides our local farmer's market with impressive produce every week.  This colorful salad was created from vegetables grown in their fields (even the goat cheese is a result of the Worden Farm goat cheese making workshop that I attended.)

 

 

I have seen photos of, but never obtained the allusive Watermelon Radish until last weekend.  To my delight, Worden Farm had them gleaming and beaming on their table!  The exterior looks much like a plain old white knobby turnip.  Perhaps I had seen them many times before and assumed they were a mere turnip... however, one must cut into them to behold their dazzling color.  Cleverly, Worden Farm had done just that .... cut one in half and left it on top on the other Watermelon radishes.     

 

 

Watermelon radishes are larger than a typical radish, about 3 inches in diameter.  Generally the flesh of this radish is spicier toward the outside and sweeter toward the center.  This heirloom variety of the Chinese daikon has also been known to go by the alias Beauty Heart or Rose Heart radish... I can understand why these plain names have fallen by the wayside compared to the image invoking name, Watermelon radish!

This radish may be simply sliced to enhance salads and sandwiches or drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt to be served as an hors d'oeuvre with a glass of wine (I did this last week and they were a smashing hit).  The Watermelon radish may also be cooked like a turnip, sautéed or braised... very versatile indeed.

 

 

Once, I had purchased this Scarlet Queen Salad Turnip (pictured above) hoping it was simply another name for the Watermelon radish... but no such fortune.  They were pretty on the outside, but alas, not the beautiful radish with the magenta flesh that I was foraging for.

 

 

Do you remember this long lashed beauty from the goat cheese making class?  She is the gentle soul who kindly provided us with the milk to make the chèvre for my salad.  

If you are fortunate enough to be a reader who lives in southwest Florida, Worden Farm is having an organic gardening workshop this Sunday, May 1st.  It is located about an hour away from Naples in Punta Gorda.

 

 

These orangish-red cherry tomatoes from Worden Farm did their part in the salad and gushed with sweet flavor.

 

 

I always dress my salads with a simple French vinaigrette.  The vinegar can be switched out to red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, sherry vinegar or whatever good quality vinegar you prefer.  I always make a version of this for my salads when I'm catering.  Remember this, the better the quality of the ingredients you use for this dressing the better it will taste!

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing 

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon salt 

freshly ground pepper to taste

3/4 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil

In mixing bowl whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until well blended.  Gradually pour in the olive oil while constantly whisking.  Whisk rapidly until the dressing is emulsified.   The dressing can stored in a tightly covered jar on the counter for 24 hours or in the refrigerator for one week (bring to room temperature and shake well).

 

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Reader Comments (34)

love the wonderful colors.....and baby goat!! sooo precious!!

04.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterPAT MCE;ROY

I love the look and taste of watermelon radishes. What a beautiful salad, and the photos on your post are lovely!

04.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynda

lisa . . . i have never seen or heard of watermelon radishes. i have seen "white beets" though. i am always on the lookout for ingredients that i have never heard of or tried, so thanks for an interesting and beautiful post.

04.26.2011 | Unregistered Commenterpatty

What beautiful pictures. It looks so sunny and warm there too! Your salad looks wonderful :)

04.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDee

Your salad looks amazing! The colors work wonderfully :)
This make me really want to find a watermelon radish, so gorgeous! You're lucky to have a farmers market nearby :)

04.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDee

Oh my! I came to heaven! Do you know that one of my things to check off of my list is to learn how to make tarts this year. Thank you so much for stopping by at my kitchen, so I got to know your site. I will visit your recipes and print some off to try. Which one would be the best for a beginner in tart making?
I love watermelon and I love radishes :) I will keep an eye on it at the farmer's market, see if it arrived in NC yet!
Looking forward to future visits!

04.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterIlke

Simply beautiful. Almost too pretty to eat :) But nothing is safe from me if there's goat cheese involved...

Lovely post, thanks so much for sharing!

04.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterParsley Sage

ilke - Good ones to start with are the "tarte au chocolat" or "tarte au citron" both are simple, elegant and delicious!

these pictures are magnificiant!

04.26.2011 | Unregistered Commenterclaudia lamascolo

Lisa, What an interesting and educational posting. The pictures are so colorful and professionally done. Another great job. A fun read that you can taste just by seeing.

04.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDad

I've never seen watermelon radishes before, but they are so beautiful! The salad is a wonderful way to celebrate them. And what a gorgeous farmer's market to have nearby.

The watermelon radish look beautiful. Do they taste like regular radish? The cherry toms kind of clash with the radish, but hey, you can eat the evidence.

04.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBunny Eats Design

Never saw watermelon radish here...they are so pretty! The salad for sure is the best way to taste their freshness.

OH I've heard so much about these radishes. They were eagerly awaited this last harvest. Such a pretty vegetable! :)

Yumm ! I like all this vegetables! I have never cook this kind of radish! Thanks for the idea.. ;)
Have a good day!!

04.27.2011 | Unregistered Commenterclém'

How absolutely GORGEOUS!! I love those so much - the color alone makes me smile so big. :-)

04.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

This is very interesting! I have never seen a watermelon radish. It's quite pretty! Your pictures are great! I love the recipe for the dressing.

Lisa, I really enjoyed your colourful and lively post. You've got me all excited about finding the watermelon radish. I've seen it in posh French restaurants to garnish a dish. Your salad looks not only stunning but a celebration in flavours, too!

You remind me so much of me! I love your photos of the farmers market and the post about making goat cheese. We have a goat farm near us that I'm dying to take my daughter to but we missed the event they had there a few weeks ago. Hopefully I get make an appointment to visit and learn about the goats!

04.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

I never seen this watermelon radish...they sure look beautiful not only adds color to the salad must taste very refreshing...beautiful! Hope you are having a wonderful week :-)

04.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuliana

Hi There, This is looking absolutely delightful. Very nicely made and presented. Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day ...Regards, Sonia !!!

04.27.2011 | Unregistered Commentersonia

You've given us frame after frame of gorgeous produce and the promise of spring. I'm relatively new to your blog and don't often comment. I just wanted you to know that I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers. I always enjoy my visits here and you keep me coming back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

04.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary

2 words... utterly gorgeous!

04.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSommer@ASP

Oh I love your photos of the farmer's market! Our local markets open next month and I can't wait! Your salad looks so delicious, just right for lunch today and I love the watermelon radishes. They are hard to find around here but I just love them for their amazing color and flavor. Great post. got me yearning! Thanks!

Those are so beautiful, I don't think I've ever had any before. I just adore radishes, I would love to find these and try them.

Oh, they are so pretty looking produce! You capture them very well. And, your salad look so pretty as well as delicious.

04.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDewi

I'm so jealous that you are already shopping farmers markets. Here in Seattle, they are just opening. I love browsing and finding new things to try like your watermelon radish!

Kristi

04.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristi Rimkus

What a lovely farmers market you have. Some gorgoues pictures here. Love your colorful salad too with all its organic and exotic ingredients!

05.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSukaina

That is the most gorgeous thing I've seen all day! I love radishes and I would just be floored if I got the chance to pick these babies up! :-) I love the way you showcased them, too. So wonderful and simple. It's all they need.

Lisa, oh my, your photos.... WOW! Gorgeous! I have to go back up to read the post...all I could do was stare at the photos!

05.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate @ Diethood

I saw this post yesterday and had shared it on facebook.
I'm so jealous of your farmer's market. Here it just opened and I can hardly find something, mostly just herbs and plants.
Your photos are amazing. Could stare at them for hours.

05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoxana GreenGirl

I recently stubled upon these lovely radishes at the store and had to buy them, as I was curious. Love them! Your salad sounds amazing :)!

05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Wow Lisa I am so impressed. I wonder how I would do! I guess I can take up one new weekly habit while shopping and see how it goes.

05.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterIlke

The salad looks delicious. i should try your dressing

06.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSauteed Radish
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