A very slight hint of winter just appeared in the air this morning, and pretty soon you might encounter the black radish (also known as black Spanish, black Spanish round, or in French, Gros Noir d’Hiver) and like I did, wonder what it is. Is it a beet, a radish, a potato, or simply an adventure?
I found it at the Food Coop and grabbed it without any plans for its consumption. I come home with my loot often with surprises – oddly shaped crop I’d have to consult Google on how to prepare, strange grains and fruit – and enough hope to create a healthy, unique meal to share.
Black radishes are apparently an Eastern European staple, but have recently been sighted in many a CSA harvest and local farmer’s markets. They rarely make it to mainstream supermarkets because their taste is even more unpopular than the Japanese radish daikon (labanos in Tagalog), which could be bitter when prepared incorrectly. The meat of the black radish is completely white, but sharp and spicy, earning it the name “French horseradish.” I looked up ways to prepare it and the easiest one that came up was to bake slivers of them as chips! Continue reading
Endives (or escarole) belong to the same family as frisee lettuce (also known as curly endives). Endives are versatile and less bitter than frisee, nutritious and inexpensive alternative to salad greens.
Here endive is served with chopped ripe tomatoes and uglifruit pieces.
Okra is such a versatile vegetable. I love having it in curries and stews, or even just steamed or simply sautéed. This one is a dish I grew up with (and hated, but only because it was green!) but now love. The simple flavors of tomato and fish sauce bring out the sweetness in the okra, making it an ideal partner to strongly flavored dishes.
“I never know what to do with eggplant,” said my Food Coop squad mate. “What?” I said, baffled. “You can do everything with it!”
To me, an eggplant is as versatile as a potato, and I would guess it’s even more nutritious. As a young picky eater, eggplants were the only vegetable I would eat, and I liked them fried and dipped in soy sauce and lime. Because of their size, Asian eggplants are much easier to cook whole without slicing and having the pieces dry up during grilling. Grilling Asian eggplants on a stove top gives them a delicious burnt flavor and is my preferred way of cooking them, but in a pinch baked eggplants almost always suffice.
They are tasty enough on their own and are even better with condiments. Baked Asian eggplants wrapped in foil make a great side dish, and may also be peeled and chopped to make a nice salad.
How to Bake Asian Eggplants
Wash eggplants and wrap in foil.
Bake for 40 minutes at 375C, testing with a fork if done.
Here it is served with a sauce of shrimp paste, vinegar and onions.