Introducing the Black Spanish Radish

Hello, Winter CSA Members!
This week, we are featuring one of our less familiar, more mysterious root vegetables: the Black Spanish Radish. Here are some notes on this vegetable, including preparation tips and recipe suggestions.

Have a favorite recipe of your own? Share it with your fellow Winter CSA members! If you’ve got a favorite recipe you’d like to share, submit your recipe here!

And now, let’s get the creative (and culinary) juices flowing:

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The Black Spanish Radish (Raphanus sativus niger), otherwise known as the “Black Mooli”, is a uniquely beautiful root vegetable with a robust flavor and fascinating history.

The textured, matte-black exterior of the Black Spanish gives way to a smooth, bright cream-colored interior that is high in Vitamin C. The meat of this radish is firm, yet also tender: this a toothsome, almost velvety radish -- not a crisp, juicy winter radish like the watermelon or daikon.

It has been used by the Europeans, the Chinese, and the Ancient Egyptians as a medicinal vegetable to promote the health of everything from the gallbladder and the liver to the pulmonary and respiratory systems. This radish is known for its ability to help fight off infections, and to promote a healthy digestive system.

To eat raw, we recommend the following:

  • Radish sandwiches! This is the winter version of a French breakfast treat: slice very thinly and serve on a piece of crusty bread with good butter and a sprinkle of salt
  • Serve thin-sliced and tossed with a bit of olive oil and salt over a bed of greens
  • Shred into a sauerkraut mixture or as addition to meat broth-based soups

If roasting, wash and cube the root (without removing the skin) into bite-size pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt, and a bit of dried thyme or chili pepper flakes and roast at 350 until tender. Variations:

  • Adding cubed celeriac and thick-sliced orange carrot to the pan creates a deliciously full-flavored winter roasted vegetable mix that is both savory and sweet.
  • Adding Black Spanish radish cubes to the bottom of a pan of roasting chicken (and allowing the radish to cook in the juices) elevates the complex and savory notes of this vegetable.
  • Enjoy roasted Black Spanish radish as a side, or mixed with rice.

Or try making them into chips! Slice thinly (into ¼ or ⅛ inch rounds), oil well, salt, and bake at 400 degrees until crispy (but not burnt). Watch these carefully as the time between perfect and burnt is very narrow. You can also follow this recipe.

For more recipe ideas, consider making them into soup or check out Cathy Erway’s article, Three Ways To Cook One Tough Radish.

Happy eating, and stay tuned for more recipes for the 2/17 distribution!