Carpaccio de Radis (Radish Salad with Herb-Infused Olive Oil)
I love red radishes. It's such an under-utilized and under-appreciated vegetable. The taste is clean, crisp, and mild. Unlike daikon or other kinds of radishes, they don't have a harsh mustardy flavor. Traditional carpaccio is thin slices of raw meat or fish, but I made a "carpaccio" out of the radishes by thinly slicing them with a mandoline.
In France, we would simply eat them with good quality butter, salt and pepper. Since the butter here in the US isn't as flavorful as the yellow butter produced by the grass-fed cows in France, I decided to liven up the dish with a truffle-Meyer lemon vinaigrette to make it more appealing. I drizzled Italian flat-leaf parsley-flavored oil for color. I chose flat-leaf parsley because it has a much milder flavor than cilantro. I wanted the radishes to be the focus of the dish and not be overpowered by other ingredients.
Yields: 816 red radishes
2/3 teaspoon salt (preferably fleur de sel)
1/8 teaspoon white peppercorns, freshly ground
1/4 cup canola oil (or any neutral oil)
2 teaspoons truffle oil
1 Meyer lemon
1 tablespoon garlic chives, finely snipped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, tightly packed
1/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
Using a zester, make about 8 small lemon zest shavings . Set aside.
For the truffle / Meyer lemon vinaigrette: In a bowl, combine the juice of half the lemon, 1/3 teaspoon of fleur de sel, canola oil and truffle oil.
Shave down the radishes using a mandoline slicer on the thinnest setting. Place them in the vinaigrette bowl. Toss well.
Wash the flat-leaf parsley. Quickly blanch it for about 10 seconds in boiling salted water and transfer to an ice bath, to maintain a bright green color. Drain thoroughly of all water, and pat dry on paper towels. Coarsely chop the parsley.
In a blender (or a mini-blender if you have one), mix the parsley, olive oil, garlic, 1/3 teaspoon of fleur de sel and 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper.
Assemble 2 sliced radishes per person. Add a dollop of crème fraîche, drizzle a little more than a teaspoon of parsley-flavored oil. Sprinkle a pinch of garlic chives. Garnish with Meyer lemon zest. Finish with a pinch of fleur de sel.
I used Cherry Belle radishes. They are a bright red-skinned round variety with a white interior.
Using a good quality salt will bring so much more flavor to your appetizer. Fleur de sel doesn't taste as harsh as regular table salt; it has a more briny flavor. The coarse texture is perfect for carpaccio. You can find it at any specialty stores like Whole Foods. There are so many kinds that you should try: Red Hawaiian salt, Himalayan salt, Fleur de sel from Madagascar, Fine Salt from Bayonne, Sel de Guerande, and of course the Fleur de Sel from the Island of Noirmoutier. For this recipe, I used the Fleur de Sel de l'Ile de Re, which I bought on my trip to Paris last June. It's hand-picked, not treated and not washed. All the minerals are still there. It's very flavorful and surprisingly not as salty as regular table salt. I like testing and making my own seasoning salt. I'll post the recipe for some of these concoctions later.
For a non-vegetarian version, you can top the radish carpaccio with paper-thin slices of sushi-quality Ahi fish fillet, cut on the bias.
Published By: on August 11, 2009.
The flowers in the background are the flowers produced by the garlic chives in my garden. Aren't they pretty?