Chances are you’ve seen a watermelon radish on a restaurant plate and wondered what the heck it was. It was probably sliced paper-thin, and may or may not have been quick pickled. Hopefully you ate it, because watermelon radishes are one of the unsung heroes of the winter vegetable world. Also known as rooseheart or red meat radishes, they are an heirloom Chinese daikon radish that is larger than more common radishes with an exterior that looks almost like a white turnip. I can’t get enough of them, partly because of their vibrant interior colour, but also because of their unique, ever so slightly bitter and peppery taste which delivers a welcome jolt of flavour to any plate. I do like them pickled, but roasted in butter they are out-of-this-world delicious and really pretty too. These would make a fun cocktail snack as well.
- 2 watermelon radishes
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Fresh lemon quarter for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Scrub the radishes (no need to peel) then trim off the tops and tails.
- Halve the radishes crosswise then cut wedges about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) wide by one inch (2.5 cm) high.
- Spread the radishes out on a baking sheet.
- Melt the butter then spoon half of it over the radishes, being careful to drizzle each segment with a little butter.
- Sprinkle with just enough salt and pepper to lightly dust each segment.
- Roast in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Flip the radish segments, drizzle on the remaining butter, and roast for 5 – 7 minutes more until they are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife but not mushy.
- Don’t be put off by the slightly sulphurous aroma of the radishes as they cook; much like fine stinky cheese, the taste is much mellower and gentler than the smell.
- Transfer to a serving dish, scraping browned butter and seasonings off the baking tray into the dish.
- Squeeze lemon juice over top. Toss to blend and serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 2 as a side dish; can easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled.