The first time I stumbled upon watermelon radishes was on a cold winter morning at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market, over two years ago. I was searching for parsnips and thought this was it! The cheery crew at Happy Boy Farms warned me that it was a spicy radish. I had never seen radishes that looked like this. She took a knife out from her back pocket and cut it open, and it was gorgeous. Vibrant bright pink and I knew I had to eat it. I immediately thought about making a simple Watermelon Radish and Fennel Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette.
I was in awe. The exquisite color completely had me. I fell in love with the somewhat tie-dyed design made of the brightest pink I had ever seen. Yes, I was buying purely on beauty. I took a paper bag and filled it with different sizes and shapes. I had no idea what to expect when I got home.
Tenderly I took one of the radishes out of the crumpled bag, scrubbed the just picked dirt off, and took a big bite. The spicy juices started to run down the corner of my mouth, and I was hooked. It was like my first kiss; wet, unknown, and a little bit spicy. I continued to slice a couple more, then I laid them on a plate and buttered a piece of still-warm baguette. I put a couple of vibrate slices onto the creamy butter and sprinkled Maldon salt over the top. It was perfect.
Since that first “kiss” two years ago, watermelon radishes grace our winter table very often. As an afternoon snack or mixed with tender greens for a dinner salad. Now that, we are working from home, full-time, I am on the look-out for simple but delicious lunches. This salad is one of our favorites. It is full of sweet fennel and spicy watermelon radishes with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh-squeezed Meyer lemons. It screams springtime; doesn’t it?
Recipe: Watermelon Radish and Fennel Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
* serves two
1 medium-sized fennel, green fronds removed
3 small-medium sized watermelon radishes
drizzle good quality olive oil
1 Meyer Lemon
Using a mandoline, thinly slice the fennel and radishes.
Scatter onto a plate.
Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top.
Using a lemon reamer, juice the lemon over the top.
Sprinkle Maldon salt and black pepper over the salad.