Pink in a Watermelon Radish — Du rose dans un radis pastèque

Watermelon Radish Spaghetti

Whenever I walk outside, I like to play this game: Pay close attention to try to discern the details of the amazing palette of colors available around me. I can still remember P’s Irish cousin G. telling me about the numerous shades of green to be found in Ireland when he compared it to the coast of New England during his first visit, many summers ago. His words stayed, stuck in my head. With food, I have the same curiosity. For example, have you noticed the natural coloring in food? I keep being fascinated by it, every single time. Just like this past week, when I discovered a new funky vegetable.

Watermelon Radish

“I don’t believe you, it is not called a watermelon radish, is it?”, P told me when I proudly held high, in front of him, the small white and pink ball I had bought that morning.

“Mais si, je te le dis! Go back and buy another one, and you will believe me then”, I replied. Did he think that I had dreamed or what?

I needed to buy black radish for a mise-en-bouche I was planning to make for our dinner with friends this past Sunday. I had made it before and loved the combination of colors and flavors. That was my plan. While browsing the different sections of our local Wholefoods, I had almost forgotten about it and was about to leave the store, but then I remembered, and I walked by the vegetable section, once more. By now, I almost know by heart where everything is — surely, the staff sees me there so often that they all smile at me every single time, as if to say “you, again!”. But I could not see any black radish! Mince ! What would I buy then? Daikon, maybe? As my eyes browsed the shelves quickly, my attention suddenly got attracted to a rounder, white, pink and pale green vegetable. “What was that?”, I wondered. “A parsnip?” I drew closer and read Watermelon Radish. “What an interesting cute vegetable”, I thought. I did not hesitate a second as I was just too curious to see the color inside, and taste it. I love radish, under all forms.

It was pretty as I had imagined, tasty as I had dreamed.

I used my new benriner turning vegetable slicer toy — how much I love this one, I will have to tell you more about it later — and sliced the radish like spaghetti (you can use a regular vegetable grater). The first day, we ate it with chopsticks, as a simply seasoned plain salad. Then, I used it in a mixed tarragon-flavored salad with mâche, goat cheese and diced beets for my lunch.

Tarragon-Flavored Radish and Mâche Salad

On Sunday, as planned, I used it for the beet and ricotta cheese mousse mise-en-bouche I had in mind. And the verdict was extremely pleasing as I was convinced to have officially found my favorite radish.

With a mild to sweet peppery flavor, this radish is excellent. Related to turnip and horseradish, this round root vegetable has a white outer skin, touches of pale green with a pink base, and a bright pink inner flesh, both satisfying visually and taste-wise. It can be prepared like daikon or black radish, yet bringing a brighter touch of color on your plate. Really, how could one not want to look at this inviting shade of reddish pink? It is natural food coloring at its best!

And no, it is not because it is pink, fushia, whatever you see in it, that it is only for girls. I have never believed in this color distinction anyway! But boy I love this color.

Beet Mousse and Radish Mise-en-Bouche
Beet Mousse and Radish Mise-en-Bouche

(For 6 to 8 small glasses)

  • 3.5 oz cooked beetroot
  • 7 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tsp tarragon, chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small black or watermelon radish, or 1 daikon
  • Chives, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Fish roe

Steps:

  • Peel the radish — whichever you use — and grate thinly (if you have a special vegetable slicer like me, use it). Season simply with olive oil, salt and pepper, 1/2 Tsp chopped tarragon and keep on the side.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, purée the beets with the ricotta cheese and 1/2 Tsp tarragon.
  • Add the sherry vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  • Beat the egg whites firm with a pinch of salt and fold them carefully in the beet preparation.
  • Divide between the shot glasses, using a decoration bag.
  • Top the beet preparation with the radish and add fish roe. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Decorate with chopped chives.

Le coin français

Mise-en-Bouche, mousse de betterave et radis

(Pour 6 à 8 petits verres, selon la taille)

  • 100 g de betteraves cuites
  • 200 g de ricotta au lait entier
  • 2 càc de vinaigre de xérès
  • 1 càs d’estragon, haché
  • 2 blancs d’oeuf
  • Sel et poivre
  • 1 petit radis noir ou pastèque, ou daikon
  • Huile d’olive
  • Ciboulette hachée
  • Oeufs de poisson

Étapes :

  • Pelez le radis (celui qui vous utilisez) et rapez-le finement (si vous avez une mandoline benriner, utilisez-la). Assaisonnez d’huile d’olive, de sel et d poivre et 1/2 cès d’estragon haché. Mettez de côté.
  • Dans le bol de votre robot, mettez les betteraves avec la ricotta et 1/2 cès d’estragon haché, et réduisez en purée fine.
  • Ajoutez le vinaigre de xérès et assaisonnez avec du sel et du poivre.
  • Montez les blancs d’oeuf en neige ferme avec une pincée de sel et incorporez-les délicatement à la purée de betteraves.
  • Utilisez une poche è douille pour répartir cette mousse dans des petits verres.
  • Garnissez avec le radis et quelques oeufs de poisson, et de la ciboulette hachée. Gardez au frais jusqu’au moment de servir.

The Mise-en-Bouche at our Dinner
Posted in Uncategorized | 51 Comments

51 comments

  1. Béa, this post makes me want to run to the greengrocer’s right away and demand that he carry this beautiful vegetable.
    Your splendid photographs are a true delight, the first one from the bottom up is my favorite. I’d love to look at it in my kitchen, first thing in the morning.

  2. maintenant je regarderai les radis d’un autre oeil…parce que jaimais ils n’ont ete si beaux….

  3. Bea, you have a more wonderful Whole Foods than mine — I have never seen this in my market, or perhaps I just have not noticed it. The color is glorious!

  4. splendid clolours and combinations…….its said..”u eat with your eyes first ” and my eyes at the moment are in ethereal bliss.

  5. Those colours are amazing, Bea – and once again you’re using one of my favourite vegetables:) And watermelon radish sounds like a vegetable I should keep my eyes open for.

  6. Il me tarde déjà d’essayer ce funky légume! :-) Je garde aussi l’oeil ouvert pour les couleurs de notre environnement. C’est souvent très inspirant. Toi, tu as l’oeil acéré pour les mariages de toute beauté. Superbes photos comme d’habitude!

  7. oh dear you’ve got be there again bea! i so wished i was at the dinner! that fushia is just simply beautiful. i particularly love the opening photo of watermelon radish spaghetti.

    lovely!

  8. fantabulous colors! They look HDR. I think I am going to experiment with some beets too, that color is so photogenic (I keep saying this, means your blog inspires me). I appreciate how you explore all sorts of ways to present beets.

  9. J’aime tellement ce radis. Tu en as de la chance d’en trouver, moi, je dois attendre l’automne prochain. Je ne parle pas des photos, elles parlent d’elles-mêmes.

  10. c’est super et rafraîchissant, ici le petit appareil qui fait des vermicelles ou des corolles s’appelle un rouet et c’est très pratique et surtout ça coupe les légumes dans le sens des fibres ce qui est très bon !

  11. C’est franchement très beau… et ça me fait fait du bien de voir cette harmonie et ces couleurs! la “beathérapie”! ;-)

  12. I’ve never seen a vegetable like this before. it’s like a radish but the size of a turnip and pink inside… I am confused, but in good way. It looks beautiful.

  13. Bea – your photos, I always love. But, I think these with the greens and the watermelon radish and the watermelon spaghetti are my absolute favorites. They are truly stunning. You have outdone yourself! I want some! :-)

    -L

  14. Oh, let summer soon be here! The colors of food, of vegetables are truly amazing. Personally, I’ve been thumbing through seed catalogues and discovered veggies that are far, far from plain old iceberg lettuce. Thankfully, the veggie sections in various grocery stores are bringin in more of the rare stuff these days. Still a long way to go, though.

    Great article.

  15. The safe part about coming here is rarely do you seem to do much from cookbooks, so I don’t too often have to run to the bookstore after a visit.
    But today I want to run to Whole Foods (the closest must be 250 miles away) and even though I’ve seen and known the benriner turning vegetable slicer for years, NOW I WANT ONE!
    You had me at the first picture. Each succeeding one only compounds my agony.

  16. Je suis tombée amoureuse de ce post Béa!
    On a les mêmes goûts pour la vaisselle tu as vu ? :D (la première photo)
    Bravo, toutes ces créations, c’est vraiment magnifique, un vrai régal!

  17. Huuummm tout fait envie ! très belles créations et les photos sont très très appétissantes, belles harmonies de couleurs.

  18. The vegetable turner? You’d got to give me more details, I’ve never seen something that does a job so slick and quick before.

  19. La Béathéraphie, oui, c’est tout à fait le terme qui convient ! TEs photos, tes recettes et la façon dont tu rédiges tes billets sont une sorte de cure de bonne hummeur qui efface tous les petites misères du quotidien ! Et quelle couleur dans ces dernières photos, c’est absolument fabuleux !

    Merci de partager tout cela avec nouc nous Béa !

    PS/ Je te dédicace ma salade de carottes à l’orientale, inspirée par ta récente recette de pastilla au poulet… La photo n’est certes pas aussi aboutie que celles que tu réalises mais je te l’offre de bon coeur et j’espére qu’il te reste encore quelques carottes pour l’essayer à ton tour ! C’est un délice ! ;O)

    Amicalement blog,
    Ingrid

  20. Hi Bea,

    I think we should start a watermelon radish society. It is now officially my favorite radish too ;) The beet and radish mise-en-bouche are adorable!

    Cheers,
    -Helen

  21. Merisi, this is a good disease! Thank you! Hope you make it quickly to the grocery store then!

    Barbichounette, merci!

    Veronica, c’est marrant ce qu’on peut voir tout à coup dans un radis, pas vrai ?

    Lydia, yes we do, I think. We have plenty around to choose from, so I feel lucky when winter is here and there are as many farmer markets around!

    Gracianne, merci. Contente que cela te plaise.

    Ellen, thank you!

    Kate, thanks!

    Bergeou, merci.

    Cat, merci.

    Oh yes, that is surely making Pille happy! ;-) I am glad.

    Ninnie, oh oui, je suis sûre que tu vas aimer. Merci de ton gentil mot.

    Evinrude, ahahah. Thanks! I am pleased you like it.

    Nika, thanks! This is the best compliment! Making you want to experiment with beets or any other vegetable/food more!

    Pete, indeed, you share it, don’t you?

    Mayacook, merci. Ravie que cela te plaise.

    Tarzile, oh don’t tell me that you grow them, do you?? I come on vacation in your house to pick your vegetables then!

    Mercotte, oh merci du tuyau. Je ne savais pas du tout! Je note. Ravie de le savoir maintenant!

    Anita, yes a nice slicer indeed! Love it!

    Joey, hope they do some day. You would have fun with it. Mine came from Vermont believe it or not.

    Yoyo, thank you!

    Kat, yes aren’t they cool?

    Brilynn, thanks.

    Peggy, ahah, tu es si mignonne. J’adore ce qualificatif! You made my day!

    Rose, yes confusing eh? I myself was!

    Christine, I promise, I will. Thank you so much for your constant encouragement. It makes a huge difference!

    L, oh thank you so much! It goes right to my heart! I am delighted you like them!

    Christina, yes a few months to go indeed. But we are getting there. ALready the days are getting shorter!

    Tanna, thank you! I think you can totally indulge in that purchase. You will not be disappointed.

    Chris, easy, on line! Cooking.com or any cooking utensil websites, like SUr La Table as well.

    Susan, thank you. That is a nice compliment.

    Rowena, I know funky eh?

    Fabienne, oui vas-y!

    Sooishi, ah oui je viens d’aller voir. C’est trop marrant, d’autant qu’on habite pas franchement à côté l’une de l’autre.

    Bcommebon, merci beaucoup.

    Sylvie, merci.

    Barbara, go for it! You will love it.

    Helen, merci. C’est vrai hein que cette couleur finalement, quelle couleur !

    Michelle, I promise to give more info. But quickly here, it is available on line, Sur La Table, cooking.com for example.

    Ingrid, merci de ton gentil mot. Ca me touche vraiment, comme celui de Peggy. Je vais de ce pas aller voir ta recette.

    Chantal, merci.

    Helen, oh yes we are lucky to have found them, aren’t we?

  22. J’aime tout. C’est bien simple. La couleur de ce radis, tes recettes, les photos toujours plus hallucinantes et ton bol tout simplement superbe.

    Sérieusement, tu n’as jamais été contactée par un studio photo? Parceque ce que tu fais est vraiment sidérant!

  23. Merci bien Loukoum de ce gentil mot. Je suis contente de lire que cela te plait! C’est vrai que la photo culinaire, c’est un peu ma passion ;-) Les chose bougent doucement!

  24. Dear Bea, your pages, stories and pictures are an island of refreshment, color and beauty in the ocean of websites. Almost like an oasis in the desert of technical websites (like mine :-). I am very grateful for your passion about food, blog-making and photographing. This is one of the things that make your day happy and enjoyable, even if sitting in a gray office.
    Wholehearted: Thank you.
    And please, keep going.

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  26. Dear Bea…I live in Turkey and I was shopping in the pazar when I saw this vegetable. My sister-in-law and I wondered what it was, so she asked. She is a native Turk and had never seen this before either. They told her it was a turnip. Our curiousity almost killed us both until she had to ask if we could taste it. In Turkey you can sometimes taste a new item on the spot. She told me to taste it first….my first reaction was, “It tastes like a watermelon.” Then I got the faint taste of turnip. Well, let me be honest, I hate turnips because of the kick and aftertaste or gas you experience later. This watermelon turnip is not like that at all and yes, I understand the name!

    Thank you for your website as I was driving myself crazy trying to find out the real name for this delightful vegetable. My Turkish husband loves fried foods so I added this delightful item to his many different vegetables in the oil. Wow! It is even nice fried along with fried carrots. I can imagine many things you can do with this vegetable.

    Thanks again for helping me discover it’s real name! Frances in Turkey

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  28. I grew this watermelon radish this year and tasted it for the 1st time today, thank-you for the wonderful recipe ideas, I had no idea what I was going to do with it/

  29. We planted watermelon radish in our garden this year. I found your site when I was trying to find out when they are ready to be picked. Your recipes and photos are gorgeous! I was intrigued by the slicer and have now decided that I need one. My family is a big fan of the spicy radish salad that is served as a side dish in most Korean restaurants. My 4 yr old calls them spicy noodles. I am wondering if I should pay more for the horizontal slicer that you picture or if the vertical “cook helper” would suffice. Do you have any input?

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