A delicious diversity of fresh ingredients – radish

The first rays of sunlight and signs of warm weather have reawaken the craving for healthy and fresh meals that will give us the energy needed for pursuing all the activities and hobbies we planned on taking with the advent of spring. After somewhat heavy and high-calorie winter specialties the newly arrived fresh seasonal ingredients sold on markets make a great way to vary our diet by using raw and nourishing vegetables. Not only will the juicy, crunchy and pungent radish give every meal a dash of red, but it will also diversify the flavours and make a great spring companion to ingenious chefs when preparing almost any dish.

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Seasonal ingredients peak: March - April

Its peppery kick makes the radish an ideal vegetable for combining it with other spring ingredients. You can prepare them as a salad, side dish to meat or fish specialties, they make a perfect addition to spreads or sandwiches. If you’re planning on giving a dinner party, their decorative value will definitely garnish even the simplest of meals.

Even though the red radish is most commonly used to prepare meals in everyday cooking, there’s also the black radish. Kohlrabi, often used to prepare soups, is another member of the crucifers family. Being a true spring ingredient, the red radish a prime example of an energy bomb. In addition to being rich in calcium, vitamins, folates and diet fibres, it also functions as a powerful antioxidant, which means it enhances detoxing your bloodstream and digestive system.

Warm and cold salads

Before you prepare them, you should remove the leaves and thoroughly rinse the radishes followed by trimming off the tops and roots. The skin is edible and it’s not hard to digest. Radishes are conducive to all cutting styles so you can slice them into circles, matchsticks or quarters. They make a great addition to warm and cold salads. Depending on available ingredients, we suggest you try a classic spring variety with different kinds of salads, grilled asparagus, spring onion or chive, grated hard cheese and boiled eggs and you can use olive oil and apple cider vinegar or sour cream, mayonnaise and black pepper to make a salad dressing. Corn or grated carrot are great if you add them to salads and you can use young parsley or dill to season your salad. Radishes will make warm potato, pasta or rice salads refreshing. Herbs such as oregano and thyme go great with radishes, but you can also prepare them with fruit such as oranges or avocado.

With their crunchy texture radishes make a great addition even to cold sandwiches. A sliced radish goes great with a sandwich containing a light cheese spread, tuna or salmon. It’s a fabulous addition to canapés with freshwater fish pâtés and you can also use them to make spring spreads by chopping it into fresh cow cheese with chive and enjoy the diverse flavours.

You can grate raw radishes and add them to cream soups to get a new texture. You’ll particularly relish the combination of radishes and broccoli cream soup. Although the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of radishes is that they’re used exclusively raw, they’re very much delicious when barbecued with other root vegetables or oven-baked with capers, carrot, potatoes and veal or other types of meat to your liking. In addition to their health benefits and nutritional values, radishes are refreshing and appetising, which is a quality important to every host.

You can have a taste of interesting radish dishes in numerous Croatian restaurants, which have long awaited the advent of spring in order to showcase their new specialties to their guests. The famous Zagreb bistro Pod zidom prepares beef tongue with parsnip sauce, raw radish salad and beetroot coulis, whereas in Zadar’s restaurant 2 ribara you can try the Mediterranean version of radish. We wholeheartedly recommend you try the octopus salad on a bed of rucola, radishes, stuffed olives and cherry tomatoes.