Radishes at the barber’s – or: some super simple sneaky shaved salad.
This is apparently becoming a thing now. Great. I yet again have something for you that is “super simple”, “divinely delicious” and “so easy to make, that you have no excuse not to cook” – an oneknifewilldodish-situation all over again. But it is true, this salad is super simple and it is also divinely delicious. I must warn you though, it is also dark and dangerous – at least at times. While chopping mangos in finger-sized strips is relatively easy, chopping round radishes wafer-thin without slicing your fingers in strips is relatively hard. So better make sure your first-aid-kit is at hand when you have this for a light lunch.
I can’t say that I have been a raging radish-maniac for the last couple of years, or ever. In fact, I used to despite them quite a bit. I would love to say that I am now worshipping them and have the odd bulb on a daily basis in all shapes and sizes, but that would be a lie. To be quite honest, I am still not crazy over them, possibly never will be. However, I am absolutely addicted to this salad. This might sound contradictory, especially since the main ingredient for my shaved radish-salad is after all radishes. But as soon as you start to stop thinking in separate ingredients and start to start thinking of a dish as a whole and dynamic unit this does make quite a bit of sense.
You might very well dislike radishes for one reason or another, but as part of a dish they might actually exceed your expectations. In a way a meal is more than the sum of its ingredients (This is a finding originally made by Gestalt-psychologists). This appears largely to be the case because we tend not consume a meal as a sequence of separate taste-units but rather as a melting-pot of flavours. Each ingredient interacts with the others and thus creates a flavour that is original to a specific dish. So the next time you are refusing to eat a meal, because it contains raisins, broccoli or cauliflower you might want to have a go at it anyway and look at it on the dish- rather than the ingredient-level.
The flavours in this salad are light and springy. There is notes of garlic and olive-oil, a hint of lemon, the warmth of freshly ground black paper, the milky piquancy of feta-cheese and the sharpness of the radishes. As far as textures go there is the crunch of the radish as a counterpart to the silky feta. If you add some light ciabatta or the, in my opinion, more suitable baguette this salad makes for a light lunch or a fresh aperitive. It opens your mouth and makes you hungry for more. It’s perfect the perfect dish for those days when you are craving something fresh and tongue-tickling.
But there is a catch. There always is. You might have to use a knife. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to judge you – but I’m afraid I will have to. Because the odds are that you, dear reader, are a hazard to yourself and other when handed a knife. If you have one try using a mandolin, by all means, save your fingers. Cut of limbs and damaged neurons are no fun.
radishes lemon-juice feta (or any other crumbly cheese with a piquant aroma) black pepper (freshly ground) salt olive oil garlic
- There is multiple ways to bring garlic-aromas on the plate. In this case literally rubbing it in seems like a clever idea as we want to go for a subtle note, rather than a big bang.
- To help the garlic to interact with the radishes, glace the plate with a thin layer of olive oil.
- Before slicing the very fresh radishes, it might help to give them a quick bath in a bowl with ice-cold water to add some crunch to the little knobs. This salad is served at its best when you manage to slice the radishes wafer-thin. In addition it is best served quickly after the radishes were sliced.
- Crumble the cheese over your plate.
- Add a generous spritz of lemon-juice.
- Grind some pepper and add some salt to finish things off.
- Eat with some mildly flavoured white bread.