Like my daffodils blooming now in response to the mild winter here on the East Coast, my body is longing for an early spring cleansing salad. Mild and bitter greens, like red lettuce and radicchio, bean sprouts of all sorts, and radishes are what I crave. Especially radishes.
Sculptural Black Radishes
I like the dramatic appearance and sculptural quality of black radishes. Their assertive, peppery flavor is similar to red radishes but the skin on black radishes is more woody. If sliced thinly, black radishes can be eaten raw in salads and in sandwiches. Otherwise, add them to cooked greens or cook them alone with a bit of butter, salt and cracked pepper. Black radishes have been much more common in Europe than in the United States. The first time I saw them at Mom’s Organic Market (a Washington, D.C./Baltimore area organic food chain), I could not resist trying them. These root vegetables can also be found at Whole Foods Market and at green grocers (check your local markets for availability).
|Black Radishes & African Pottery|
I wonder how many people like to eat tuna “undone”–with no mayonnaise (which I’m not crazy about) or any other additions? Food Network Star Alton Brown has a fantastic recipe, “Tuna Salad Undone,” which includes ventresca tuna, a gourmet tuna from Spain that is pretty pricey. Nothing else is added to the tuna in Alton’s recipe nor in mine, which includes high-quality, sustainably caught (the tuna is caught, one at a time, with a pole) Wild Albacore Tuna Fillets from Wild Planet Foods. At $5.99 per unit, this tuna is “hand selected,” has “no added liquids,” and is cooked right in the jar (yes, the tuna is in a jar). Another plus about this tuna: it boasts low mercury and six times more omega 3 fatty acids than typical canned tuna.
Tuna and Black Radish Salad
1 small head of curly red leaf lettuce, rinsed and dried
1 small head of radicchio, rinsed and dried
1 4.5-ounce jar or can of high-quality, wild albacore tuna fillets (no liquid or packed in water), drained and flaked
2.6 ounces black radish (approximately 1 large or 2 small), thinly sliced
3 ounces of sprouted beans and peas rinsed (optional)
- Hand tear red-leaf lettuce and radicchio and arrange on a serving platter.
- Place tuna in the center of the greens.
- Arrange slices of black radishes around and among the greens.
- Scatter sprouted beans and peas around and among the greens.
- Serve with salad dressing or oil and vinegar.