Hot radishes make our mouths water for more

Fresh radishes on sale at local farmers market. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: Dreamstime

Credit: Dreamstime

Fresh radishes on sale at local farmers market. (Dreamstime/TNS)

In winter, we love to feel the burn.

On blustery days, hot radishes, a staple of cuisines worldwide, open our sinuses and conquer our colds. They stimulate our appetite and make our mouths water. Prime rib and sushi wouldn’t be the same without them.

Horseradish, daikon and wasabi — the most popular of the hot radishes — share more than common cabbage cousins. They all contain allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), which stimulates our noses as well as our tongues. (Mustard and mustard seed have this compound, too.) Although ingesting too much can be physically painful, this compound also makes us feel warm — a satisfying asset for any cold-weather food.

“I am lucky in that I rarely catch a cold or have congestion issues, but I would go straight for the horseradish or wasabi if I did,” said Terri Gilliland, who owns Lucky Dog Ranch in Dixon, Calif., with her husband, Ron, along with Lucca and Roxy restaurants in Sacramento.

On their ranch, the Gillilands raise their own all-natural beef. Horseradish is an indispensable condiment with big beef roasts such as prime rib.

“My favorite part of having prime rib is the horseradish,” Gilliland said. “The one time we made it ourselves, it was so strong, I thought we made a misstep, but then read that using fresh root is always going to produce a much stronger version than one you would buy.”

“Prepared” horseradish — the stuff that comes in a jar — is a mix of fresh grated horseradish preserved with vinegar and seasoned with a little salt and a dash of sugar. To make your own, use 1 cup grated fresh horseradish root to 1/2 cup white, rice or wine vinegar, then season to taste. It will keep in the refrigerator for weeks.

Horseradish also spices up sauces, mashed potatoes and even apple tarts. Eaten in Europe for centuries, it’s been part of American cuisine since the first colonists. Pioneers brought it to California. Back in Sacramento’s Gold Rush days, Mark Twain likely enjoyed it grated on fresh oysters.

Wasabi, a treasured delicacy in Japan for more than 1,000 years, is a more recent California transplant. With the rise in popularity of sushi and other Japanese cuisine, wasabi — or wasabi substitute — has become as prevalent in flavorings as its western cousin, horseradish.

Horseradish and wasabi are actually closely related, with both members of the cabbage or mustard family. wasabi is often referred to as “Japanese horseradish.” Likewise, horseradish is known in Japan as “Western wasabi.” Because wasabi is so expensive, horseradish is often substituted for real green wasabi.

While horseradish is an edible root, true wasabi is made from the plant’s rhizomelike stem. wasabi is a tricky herb to grow; it’s native to the banks of ice-cold mountain creeks with its roots constantly bathed in chilly running water. Horseradish is far less finicky. Harvested year round, it’s sweetest and most available in winter and early spring.

Meanwhile, daikon is a dependable (and delicious) workhorse. This oversized radish not only serves as a spicy condiment, but doubles as a salad or root vegetable, tasty both raw or cooked.

Almost everyone remembers the first time they tried horseradish, wasabi or daikon. That moment usually came with tastebud alarms.

“Close to 30 years ago when Ron and I met, he took me to dinner in San Francisco and, in my Colorado ranch girl ignorance, I thought the ‘green stuff’ on the appetizer plate was avocado and ate the the whole spoonful in one bite,” Gilliland recalled. “It was wasabi and I thought I was going to die. I had to run to the ladies room to splash cold water on my face just for some relief. Ron, of course, thought the whole thing was hysterical.”

Suzanne Ashworth of Del Rio Botanical in West Sacramento has plenty of hot radish experience, both as a farmer and cook. Del Rio supplies several Sacramento area restaurants with organically grown radishes as well as many other vegetables.

“My favorite horseradish recipe includes tomatoes, so it is best made before it freezes,” Ashworth said. Her hot tomato relish uses up a lot of late tomatoes as well as onions, bell peppers and 3/4 pound horseradish.

Ashworth recommends a wasabi cousin as a substitute for pricey wasabi — wasabi arugula.

“Regular ‘wasabi’ is just mustard and horseradish, dyed green,” she said. “Wasabi arugula has a different, more fleeting heat — like expensive wasabi has. Cut into small strips, it is eaten like wasabi.”

Wasabi arugula, available in some farmers markets, also can be processed to resemble green wasabi paste.

“Daikon, peeled, is just like a breakfast radish,” Ashworth noted. “But with the peel, it is spicy. I eat it without the peel.”



Recipe courtesy American Lamb Board.

2 pounds American lamb stew meat, or shoulder or leg cut into 1-inch cubes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

3 stalks celery, sliced 1/4-inch thick

8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, halved

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups lamb stock, or low-sodium beef broth

1 cup Irish stout, such as Guinness

2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 cup frozen peas

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season the lamb with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and several grinds of pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook the lamb, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the pot; melt over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and garlic, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with flour, and stir it in. Pour in the stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring to combine completely with each addition. Add the stout, rosemary, and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Return lamb to the Dutch oven, cover, and place in oven to cook until the lamb is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a large saucepan; add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Season generously with salt, cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well, then return potatoes to the pan. Cube 3 tablespoons butter and add it to the potatoes. Start mashing the potatoes, and then gradually begin adding the sour cream. Stir in horseradish; season with salt.

When the stew is done, remove it from oven; increase the temperature to 400 degrees. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the peas and pour the stew into a 3-quart baking dish. Spread mashed potatoes evenly on top; use a fork to make decorative lines or peaks. Cube the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and dot the top. Bake until potatoes are crusty and browned in spots, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes, then serve hot.


Prep time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

2 blood oranges (about 1/2 pound)

2 medium navel oranges (about 1 pound)

Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish

6 ounces radishes (about 1 cup sliced)

4 ounces daikon radish (about 1/3 daikon)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon agave nectar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste

Pinch cayenne

2 tablespoons roasted pistachio oil (or use olive oil)

1/4 cup lightly toasted unsalted pistachios (about 1 ounce)

Remove orange peels: Cut off both ends of the oranges. Stand them up on the cut side and remove the rest of the peel and pith by cutting away strips; move your knife down the sides of the orange from top to bottom. Use a cutting board with a canal for catching juices, and cut oranges, crosswise, into rounds. Place in a bowl and tip in juices. Add fleur de sel and chopped mint, and toss together.

Slice radishes and daikon as thin as you can. (Use a mandolin or a Japanese slicer if you have one.) Place in separate bowl and sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Whisk together lemon juice, agave, cinnamon, cayenne and pistachio oil. Divide evenly among the two bowls with oranges and radishes, and toss.

Use a slotted spoon to lift oranges from juices that accumulate in bowl and arrange, with radishes, on a platter or plates. Just before serving, spoon on the juices and dressing left behind in bowl, and top with pistachios and mint.

Note: For a juicier salad, toss oranges and radishes together rather than keeping them in separate bowls and skip the slotted spoon. Serve in bowls and sprinkle pistachios on top.


Time: 1 3/4 hours, plus marinating

Serves 8

This is a modern tweak of the classic German dish tafelspitz, or boiled beef. Purchased mayonnaise will work if you don’t have time to make your own aioli.

Recipe by Melissa Clark of The New York Times.

3 pounds center-cut beef tenderloin, boneless rib roast or center-cut London broil, trimmed

2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

2 garlic cloves, finely grated on a microplane or mashed

3 large leeks, white and light green parts, trimmed, halved lengthwise and rinsed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

5 cups mixed root vegetables, such as parsnip, carrot, turnip, celery root and rutabaga, trimmed, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks (1 1/2 pounds trimmed)

10 smashed and peeled garlic cloves

6 cups good-quality beef stock (or chicken stock in a pinch)

1 small bunch thyme, tied with kitchen twine

1 bay leaf

Lemon juice, as needed

Coarse sea salt, as needed

Chopped chives, for garnish

For the fresh horseradish and beets:

1 medium horseradish root (about 10 ounces), peeled and cut into large chunks

1 small raw beet, peeled

2/3 cup white wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the aioli:

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Prepare the beef: Pat the beef dry and season all over with salt, pepper, lemon zest and grated garlic. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare the fresh horseradish and beets: In a food processor fitted with the grating blade, grate horseradish and beet. Replace the grating blade with the food processor chopping blade. Add vinegar, sugar and salt. Process until mixture is finely chopped, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.

Prepare the aioli: In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolk, lemon juice and salt. Whisking constantly, add oil in a thin, steady stream until fully incorporated. (Or do this in the blender if you prefer.) Aioli should be emulsified, but somewhat loose. Stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons horseradish mixture, to taste; reserve remaining horseradish mixture and serve alongside aioli and beef. Chill aioli until needed; it will keep for up to 5 days.

Remove beef from refrigerator. If needed, fold the thin end of the meat over itself so the meat becomes an evenly thick log, then tie ends with kitchen twine. (Skip this step if the meat is already an evenly thick log.)

Bundle three leek halves together with kitchen twine, securing them in at least two places so that the leeks don’t slip out. Repeat with remaining leek halves.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in the bottom of a wide Dutch oven. Add beef and brown well on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer meat to a platter. Stir in wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan, until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Add leeks, root vegetables, garlic and stock to the pot. Tie thyme branches together with twine and drop into the pot. Stir in bay leaf. Bring mixture to a simmer.

Add meat and any juices on the plate and cook, partly covered, at a gentle simmer (do not let it come to a boil) until meat reaches desired doneness (120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer for rare), 15 to 25 minutes. Immediately remove meat from pot, transfer to a plate, and tent with foil to rest 10 minutes.

If vegetables are not quite tender, continue to simmer them until they are. Taste stock and season with salt and a squeeze of lemon.

Slice the meat thinly just before serving. To serve, spoon vegetables into shallow bowls and arrange meat on top. Ladle a little of the broth over and around meat and vegetables. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and chopped chives. Serve with aioli and additional fresh horseradish and beets.


Serves 8

This sugar-free recipe from Jeffrey Deutsch was a finalist in the 2016 St. Louis Post-Dispatch pie contest.

7 Golden Delicious apples, divided

Juice of 1 lemon

Dash of salt

Pinch of cinnamon

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

4 Gala apples

1 tart shell

2 ounces bourbon

3 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons honey, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, core and slice 4 of the Golden Delicious apples. Add the lemon, salt, cinnamon and horseradish, and cook at a very low temperature until it forms applesauce, about 20 minutes. Do not rush this step.

Bake tart shell in oven until a light golden brown. Keep the oven on.

Core the remaining 3 Golden Delicious apples and the Gala apples and slice them thin. A bit of lemon juice with keep them from browning. Put the apples in the microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes to soften them slightly.

When the applesauce is ready, drain any excess juice through a sieve or strainer and place the sauce in the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the sliced apples, alternatively red and green, around the edge of the tart shell, standing the apple slices at an angle in the apple sauce.

In a small pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the bourbon and cook until reduced by half. Pour gracefully over the top of the completed tart. Bake for 20 minutes.

Cool and serve. If desired, drizzle honey over the top.

Per serving: 316 calories; 12g fat; 5g saturated fat; 11mg cholesterol; 2g protein; 53g carbohydrate; 30g sugar; 4g fiber; 140mg sodium; 20mg calcium.


Serves 6

Serve these alongside meatloaf. Recipe from the Associated Press.

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 tablespoon dried dill

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons bottled horseradish

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Place the potatoes in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the temperature to medium-high to maintain a low boil. Cook until tender, about 25 minutes.

During the final 5 to 10 minutes of cooking, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the butter, cream, and dill. Once the butter melts, mix well and set aside.

Drain the potatoes. Return them to the pot and mash them.

Use an electric mixer, whisk, or masher to lightly beat the potatoes. Mix in the butter and cream mixture, then the cream cheese and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper.


Serves 4

If you can break up the timing/prep of this recipe, make the aioli in advance so it’s nice and chilled by the time the fish is done.

Fresh horseradish is worth having on hand, so don’t be worried if you have to buy a larger piece than is called for here. It brings a bright intensity to the aioli. (The flavor will mellow after a day or two.) Grate it fresh as you need it to make your own cocktail sauce, a dip with sour cream or crème fraîche (for fish, chicken or prime rib); add it to a slaw or mashed potatoes. It lasts in the refrigerator in a food-safe plastic storage bag for weeks; wrap the cut side with a damp paper towel.

You’ll have leftover aioli, which can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Serve with a mash of minted fresh peas or new potatoes.

Adapted from “In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks,” by Ted Allen.

One 1-inch-wide piece fresh horseradish

About 6 leaves flat leaf parsley

2 large egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

4 skin-on salmon fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each, preferably center cut

Wondra or all-purpose flour, for dusting

Peel the horseradish. Use a Microplane grater or the small-holed side of a box grater to grate the horseradish to yield 2 tablespoons. Mince the parsley to yield 1 tablespoon.

Combine the egg yolks, salt and water in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, gradually add the 1/2 cup each of canola and olive oils (one after the other) to form an emulsion close to the consistency of mayonnaise. Squeeze in the juice from the 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon), then add the Worcestershire sauce, the grated horseradish and the parsley. Pulse a few times, just until well incorporated. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate while you cook the fish.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large, ovenproof sauté pan or skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until it is quite hot. Meanwhile, use paper towels to pat the salmon fillets dry on all sides. Season them lightly with salt.

Use the Wondra flour to dust the fillets on all sides, shaking off any excess flour. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil to the pan or skillet and swirl to coat. Add the fillets, skin side down. After about 30 seconds, shake the pan or skillet to keep the fillets from sticking (or use a fish spatula to gently dislodge them if needed). Cook for about 3 minutes, then turn over the fillets.

Transfer the pan or skillet to the oven and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through but not yet flaky. Divide among individual plates.

Serve warm, passing the chilled aioli at the table.


Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger.

For the shrimp cakes:

1 pound peeled and deveined large (26-30 count) shrimp, finely chopped

1 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs, or more as needed

1/4 cup finely chopped, seeded red bell pepper

3 tablespoons finely chopped scallion greens

2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger root

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup canola or other neutrally flavored oil

For the sauce:

Flesh from 1 ripe avocado

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more as needed

1/2 teaspoon prepared wasabi paste, or more as needed

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the shrimp cakes: Combine the shrimp, half of the panko, the bell pepper, scallions, roasted sesame seeds, egg, cilantro, toasted sesame oil, ginger, lime juice, salt and black pepper in a mixing bowl, stirring until just combined. If the mixture seems overly moist, stir in more panko a tablespoon at a time. Spread the remaining panko in a shallow bowl; you’ll need about 1/2 cup for coating, so you may have to add a bit if you used more for the mixture. Divide the shrimp mixture into 12 equal mounds, then shape each one into a patty about 2 1/2 inches wide and about 1/2-inch thick. Coat each patty well with the remaining panko.

Place the cakes in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes to firm up. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Use a fork to mash together the avocado, lime juice, wasabi paste and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Taste, and mix in more wasabi paste as needed. The yield is 3/4 cup. If not using right away, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until ready to serve (or up to 2 days in advance).

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add as many shrimp cakes as will fit in the pan without crowding. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook until the cakes are golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Just before serving, taste the avocado-wasabi sauce; add lime juice and/or wasabi, as needed. Dollop 1 tablespoon of the sauce on each shrimp cake.


Makes about 8 quarts

Use up a lot of tomatoes as well as horseradish in this spicy condiment. This recipe come from Suzanne Ashworth of Del Rio Botanical in West Sacramento. “It will keep for several months under refrigeration,” she said.

18 pounds of tomatoes, cored and chopped

8 onions, peeled and chopped

6 bell peppers, seeded and chopped

3/4 pound horseradish, finely grated

4 cups of cider vinegar

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup coarse non-iodized salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Pack into sterile quart jars, seal and refrigerate.