Monday, August 25, 2014

Pink Pickled Radishes

On a recent visit to the groceries in Los Angeles, I dove towards a basket full of locally grown radishes as if it were a quarry of precious gems. Indeed, these glistening rubies of the earth would be so rare back home that they'd only be found with a preposterous price at the up-market C!tySuper as foreign imports. Without much thought I snatched a bunch of these gems for just a dollar. For the record I did suppress a little victory dance.

The hue of these radishes enthralls me. Not crimson, not magenta, but a distinct shade of red in between that contrasts starkly with its cool white flesh. Its crisp pepperiness makes radishes an interesting addition to salads and meats, but pickling them makes them all the more fun for anything that deserves a pickle. A sandwich, a lettuce wrap, a taco... or simply straight from the jar. Experiment with different herbs when preparing this pickle. Some recipes call for tarragon, or bay leaf. I find that thyme imparts a delicate layer of flavor without overpowering; I'm using thyme also partly because my thyme plants are at their prime this season!

To prepare...
Radish (I used 6 medium sized ones)
3/4 cup of distilled white vinegar (or white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
3/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons of honey (or agave nectar for vegans)
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 clove of garlic, peeled
10 black peppercorns, roughly crushed
1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

 1. Wash and gently scrub radishes and trim off the stalks and roots. Slice into thin rings using a fine knife or a mandolin.

2. In a saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, honey and salt to a boil until completely dissolved. Turn the heat off and set aside.
3. Pack the sliced radish into a sterilized jar. (Blogger Karon Grieve provides an excellent resource on Larder Love on how to easily sterilize jars. I opt for the oven method.)

4. Pour the pickling liquid over the radishes. Add the peppercorns, garlic clove, and herbs if using. Muse at the jar as the mixture gradually turns into a lovely pink hue!

5. Cover with lid and let cool. Place in the refrigerator once cooled. The pickled radishes will be ready overnight and keep well for several weeks, although they are most fresh and crisp for about 5 days after pickling.

Note: If you let the garlic clove hangout too long in the jar, the radishes will take on a very strong garlic flavor. If all you want is a touch of garlic, remove the clove after one day.

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