The Watermelon radish, also known as Rooseheart or Red Meat, is an heirloom Chinese Daikon radish. It is a member of the Brassica (mustard) family along with arugula, broccoli and turnips.The flesh is tender crisp, succulent and firm. Its flavor is mild, only slightly peppery with some sweet notes. Depending on when harvested, Watermelon radishes can range in size from golf ball to soft ball. Watermelon radishes can be served fresh or cooked, hot or cold. They pair well with fennel, apple, cheeses such as feta and chèvre, butter, creamy based dressings, vinaigrettes, bacon, white fish, cucumbers, mild salad greens, cooked eggs, noodles such as soba and udon, citrus, cilantro, mint and tarragon.
Watermelon Radish, Orange & Goat Cheese Salad
- 1 shallot or half of a small red onion
- 2 to 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- kosher salt
- 2 to 3 watermelon radishes
- 2 to 3 oranges, clementines, grapefruit, etc. (I used Cara Cara oranges, which are sweet, pretty and delicious)
- a handful of walnuts, toasted and chopped (see notes)
- goat cheese to taste
- chives, minced, optional, but they add some nice color
- olive oil to taste
- Mince shallot. Place in small bowl. Cover with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the vinegar depending on how big of a salad you are making. Add a pinch of salt. Set aside.
- Cut off one end of the radish. Leave the other intact so you have a handle when you run the radish down your mandoline. Peel the radishes if you wish, though it is by no means necessary. Thinly slice on a mandoline. (Note: I ate one slice unpeeled and thought it tasted fine but went ahead and peeled them anyway because I thought the salad might look prettier if they were peeled, but I don’t think it actually really matters.) Arrange radish slices on a platter. I try to fold some of them so they’re not all squished down in one flat layer, but arrange however you wish. Season all over with salt.
- Cut off each end of each orange. Squeeze each end over the radishes, then discard. Use a sharp knife to remove the skin from the orange. Cut in between membranes to remove each slice. Squeeze remaining membrane all over the radishes to extract any juice. Scatter oranges over the radishes.
To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly browner and smelling fragrant. Dump the walnuts into a tea towel. Rub off the skins. Remove walnuts from towel, leaving skins behind. If you wish to get more of the skin off, place walnuts in a strainer and shake it aggressively.
- Scatter walnuts and goat cheese to taste over the radishes and oranges. Pour macerated shallots and vinegar over top. Drizzle olive oil to taste (one to two tablespoons) over top. Scatter chives over top if using.
- Let sit a few minutes (or longer — it benefits from a brief rest) before serving.