I want to like radish. It looks so dainty and colorful that you can’t help but assume it’s wonderful, but this is definitely a case of deceiving appearances. First of all, it is tough. People say it’s crunchy, but that’s not quite the right word. The dense fibers are genuinely difficult to chew. Radishes may look light and cute, but after one bite, there is no question you’re chomping on a raw root vegetable.
Radish also has a really sharp taste most often described as “spicy.” I’m not sure that’s the right word either. It definitely has a bite though. My first radish encounter was a sprinkling of finely shredded radish in a garden salad. The red and white was a pretty addition, but the salad was ruined as far as I was concerned. The radish completely overpowered the flavor of my beloved Catalina dressing. I ate around the shreds as best I could, but I never touched radish again if I could help it.
I have only ever seen red radish consumed raw as part of a salad. I think my grandma used to pop a whole radish into her mouth if she was already slicing them, but they aren’t a common addition to a relish tray. I got curious, so I did check online and found articles and recipes for cooked radish. In theory, they mellow with cooking, so I might be persuaded to try them again as an ingredient in a hot meal. Apparently, the greens are also good raw in salads or wilted in recipes. Meh. Pickled radish is another option, but that sounds disgusting (despite the fact that I adore pickled daikon, a radish relative, with my Korean food). Clearly, radish is on the list because I’m going to need some gumption to give it another go.