Recipe: Kimchi and Radish Salad

Recipe: Kimchi and Radish Salad

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Faith Durand
May 31, 2016
(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

When we were putting together a week of fresh radish recipes, we knew two things: One, we wanted to include something from April Bloomfield's lovely new book, and two, kimchi had to be involved somewhere, somehow. This rather amazing salad is a two-for-one deal, and it's a good one.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

About this salad, April Bloomfield says, "I thought I'd have a bit of fun with three of my favorite Korean ingredients: sesame, radish, and kimchi. Because I'm an Englishwoman with an Englishwoman's palate, the salad I came up with is a quiet one, not full of the fermented fireworks you might expect from Mum.

"Because I love radishes so very much, I chose to showcase their sweet, sharp bite in a mellow, mouth-fillingly flavorful sesame dressing. I like that in some bites, however, you do get a hit of spicy, funky kimchi."

We found that the combination of all these things was rather irresistible — a little spicy, with the kimchi and the radishes jostling for firepower, and savory and toasty with sesame. And surprisingly, for all its packed-in flavor, it has a very reasonable list of ingredients.

Testing Notes

This is one of the most vibrant salads, both in color and flavor, that I've ever made! There's so much going on — cooked radishes, raw radishes, crunchy lettuce — all tossed together in an intense kimchi dressing that just really works to bring everything together. This dish reminds me of everything that I love about Korean banchan in one big, satisfying salad that would go great with grilled meats.

The sesame paste mixture can be made up to a day or two ahead of time and just recombined when you're ready to toss the salad. This salad is hearty enough that it can sit for a bit without getting soggy.

- Christine, June 2015

Steamed and Raw Radish Salad with Kimchi and Sesame

Serves 4 to 6

3/4 pound daikon radishes (each no thicker than 1 1/2 inches), peeled, topped, tailed, and cut into 1-inch irregularly shaped pieces
1 pound mixed small radishes (some with pert greens left on), halved lengthwise if larger than 1 inch in diameter
2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Maldon or another flaky sea salt
4 tablespoons neutral oil, such as safflower or grapeseed
3/4 cup roughly chopped drained kimchi (preferably homemade), plus 2 tablespoons of the kimchi liquid
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 head Little Gem lettuce, root end and floppy outer leaves discarded, leaves separated

Put a steamer insert (or a colander, so long as the pot’s lid can still close) in a large pot with a lid. Add about 1/2 inch water to the pot, pop on the lid, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the daikon radishes to the insert, cover again, and let them steam until they’re fully tender but not mushy, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the daikon and let it cool. Put the steamed and raw radishes in the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the sesame seeds in a small skillet. Set it over medium heat and toast, stirring and tossing frequently, until they’re a few shades darker, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl to cool. Set 1 teaspoon of the seeds aside and pour the rest into a mortar, along with a pinch of salt. Thoroughly pound the seeds, add 1 tablespoon of the neutral oil, and stir until smooth.

Pulse half of the drained kimchi in a small food processor until you have a coarse puree. Transfer it to a bowl and mix in the rest of the kimchi, the kimchi liquid, the sesame oil, the remaining 3 tablespoons of the neutral oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Combine the kimchi mixture, steamed radishes, raw radishes, and Little Gem leaves in a large bowl and toss well. Season to taste with salt and transfer the vegetables to a plate in a heap. Drizzle the sesame paste mixture over the vegetables, then sprinkle on the remaining sesame seeds.

Check out April's book! A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden by April Bloomfield

From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield. Copyright 2015 April Bloomfield. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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