Nothing says summer livin' in the Smiling Horse kitchen quite like a crunchy, juicy salad made from garden-fresh ingredients! This year, my first attempt at my very own kitchen garden includes two varieties of radish. They are still tiny, but thinning provides an opportunity to capture some tasty leaves and a few wee, delectable roots, with the promise of larger bulbs in the weeks to come. Here, leaves from the French Breakfast Radish, which will grow in a finger shape.
The base of this single-serving, side-sized salad - one medium spiralized zucchini - crunchy, juicy and so quick to make. Dressing: the diced leaves of three young radishes and four large basil leaves, one tablespoon excellent olive oil, one teaspoon black truffle oil, juice of half a small lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Toss it all together, put onto a serving plate, garnish with a sprinkle of sumac (or parsley, or paprika - whatever you like and have on hand). No truffle oil on hand - try sesame instead!
The flavours - citrus, peppery leaves, sweet basil, zesty sumac and the unmistakable umami of the truffle - it all adds up to a delightful side to accompany a meal, or - make a big bowl and have it for lunch! Toss on a few milled pine nuts or pistachios, hemp seeds or even sesame seeds for protein and interest. Play around with the flavours. If you have bulbs, dice them up and throw them in for that scrumptious red colour and even more peppery crunch!
About radishes: Lots of vitamin C happening here, but also a surprise. I found this little tidbit on Livestrong.com: "Radishes contain a group of compounds called isothiocyanates, which are shown to be effective against certain cancers. Researchers at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in India tested various parts of the radish plant against human cancer cells. The results of their study, published in the September 2010 issue of "Plant Foods For Human Nutrition," show that the compounds in the radish bulb, or root, affect genetic pathways in the cancer cells, inducing cancer cell death." And this, from Organicfacts.net: "Since radishes are detoxifiers and are rich in vitamin-C, folic and anthocyanins, they have been connected to treating many types of cancer, particularly colon, kidney, intestinal, stomach and oral cancer. Radishes are part of the Brassica family, and like the other members of that taxonomic classification, these cruciferous vegetables are packed with antioxidants. Furthermore, the isthiocyanates found in radishes have a major impact on the genetic pathways of cancerous cells. They alter the pathways so much, in fact, that they can cause apoptosis, cell death, thereby eliminating cancerous cells from reproducing."
There you have it - have some fun this summer adding more radishes to your healthy 'plantry'. Please note - radishes are cruciferous, so . . . those with certain thyroid challenges, like me with hypothyroidism, may need to eat uncooked versions in moderation. There is lots of easy-to-find information so a little research to look after your self-care won't take long - just a bit of light summer reading!