Pale green or creamy white on the exterior, when sliced open watermelon radishes display an intense magenta rose color inside. The striations found along the outer rim give it a psychedelic tie-dye appeal, perfect for decorating any plate. Though visually striking, these radishes are mild in taste, just a hint peppery with a crisp flesh. This heirloom Chinese Daikon radish variety can be sliced thin with a mandoline to be used in salads, or be braised in a pot or roasted in the oven, prepared and served as you would other root vegetables. Relatively easy to source, the watermelon radish can be found at the market year-round.
This recipe is adapted from Michael Natkin’s herbivoracious cookbook and blog. Using seasonal ingredients, I omitted pomegranate seeds, swapped watercress for arugula and mixed greens, and opted for a creamy sheep’s feta cheese from Israel in place of the Parmigiano-Reggiano noted in the original mix. Easy to prepare, it’s a mild but beautiful salad that will perk up the table.
watermelon radish and arugula salad
1 large watermelon radish, thinly sliced
4 ounces arugula (with optional mixed greens)
4 ripe figs, halved
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Toss the watermelon radish in a bit of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. I recommend using California Olive Ranch Miller’s Blend which is slightly peppery in taste and will enhance the dish. Arrange the radish slices on each individual plate, or use a large tray and serve family-style. Next, toss the arugula with olive oil and the remaining lemon juice, then place a handful of the seasoned greens on top of the radish slices. Add the figs, toasted walnut halves and feta cheese to the plate. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and a bit of fresh ground black pepper, then serve immediately. Grab a fork and enjoy!