Of all the vegetables out there that you can include in your daily cooking routine, few are as beautiful and delicious as radishes. That’s right, those small red veggies that look pretty boring from the outside are super gorgeous when you know how to use them in radish recipes, and did we mention that they are good for you too? Don’t overlook that bunch of radishes next time you’re at the market; they are loaded with vitamin C and fiber, and they are very low in calories. Plus, according to Livestrong.com, “radishes contain a group of compounds called isothiocyanates, which are shown to be effective against certain cancers.” They are good for your health and good for your taste buds, and that’s not all. They can instantly dress up your dish if you know how to serve them. Any old chop and dice won’t do—radishes are far too pretty to simply throw on top of a salad.
Food crafting has become a pretty big trend in the culinary world recently, and while the way a dish tastes might be the first priority, the way it is presented on a plate cannot be overlooked. After all, appearances count and a little extra effort to make a gorgeous garnish or perfectly sliced topping makes a big difference. There are entire brands and websites dedicated to help you get a little creative with your cooking, and all of those culinary crafting experts are on to something. So what can you do to take your basic radishes from average to awesome? Start slicing. Here are some fun ways to make your radish recipes look fancy.
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Make Them Look Like Flowers Admit it—whenever you see a vegetable crudité or food platter with a radish flower on it, you’re impressed. First you celebrate the creativity of the person who made that flower, then you think that there’s no way in hell you could do it yourself. Wrong! They are shockingly easy to make. All it takes is a thin knife, a little patience and an easy-to-follow tutorial like this one. First you clean the radishes and then cut off the top stem and the bottom root. Next, start slicing “petals” by cutting down about 3/4 of the radish, one side at a time, working slowly to rotate around the entire radish. Another floral option that is slightly more difficult but also more impressive is this flower with triangular petals. With this one you start by cutting off the bottom root but leave the top, which will serve as your flower’s stem. Next, draw where you want your petals to go, and then carefully cut petals down to the top of the radish until the entire outer layer of the radish has been cut so you have triangular petals around. Then repeat the same action with the inner bulb that is left (so you’ll have 2 layers of petals). It might take a little practice, but the result when you get the hang of it is gorgeous.
Thinly Slice Them Into Matchsticks While large, round slices of radish are tasty and pretty because of the contrast of the pink skin against the white flesh of this vegetable, small, thinly sliced matchsticks are far more fun. Traditional with Asian dishes, julienned radishes are really pretty and add the perfect amount of crunch to every bite of your salad/taco/rice bowl etc.
Make Them Into Spirals A simple trick to make radishes look cool and really versatile for different dishes and garnishes is to use a spiral cutter. The Mastrad Spiral Veggie Slicer is a great investment because a) it’s cheap (only $14.99!) and b) you can use it with a wide range of veggies, from carrots to zucchini to radishes. For radishes, a quick spin in this gadget gives you thinly sliced ribbons of crunchy, yummy, healthy goodness. You can adjust the blade to achieve the thickness of the ribbon you want, and it’s so simple—you just use it like an old-school pencil sharpener. The spirals can be used as a decorative garnish on any dish, on top of a salad, or even in a veggie-pasta recipe.
Make a Radish Star A flower is pretty, but a star is elegant and adds a dose of modern cool to any dish. Start by removing the root and stem so you have a clean, even palette to work with. Place the flat side down on a cutting board and make your first cut down from the tip of the radish to almost the bottom, at a slight angle. Then make a second cut, also at an angle, so the top is a small distance away from the first incision, but it meets at the same point near the bottom, so it looks like a v-cut. Remove that small wedge of radish and then continue to work around the radish until you have a star. Soon your dish will look more like a work of art and less like a meal.
Make Cute Little Radish Mushrooms Arguably the cutest crafting idea when it comes to radishes, these adorable little mushrooms remind us of old school Super Mario Cart, and we can’t get enough of them. Start by making a small incision in the middle of the radish (be very careful not to push too hard) and then slowly rotate the radish so that the incision goes all the way around; make sure you do not cut through. Then make four cuts from the top of the radish down to that incision you just made and carefully remove those pieces of radish you are left with what looks like a “mushroom” stem. Then you can gently peel off small pieces of the radish skin on the “mushroom” cap so it looks like a Mario mushroom and voila!