Nero Tondo Black Radish

Raphanus sativus

A root vegetable with a sooty dull black exterior that covers a white, crisp inner flesh providing a peppery hot flavor. The intensity of this radish can vary from mildly hot to very pungent and somewhat bitter, depending on the age and size, tasting somewhat like horseradish. The Black radish can be either round or elongated in shape. As a round radish, it can grow from two to six inches in diameter. Although considered a winter radish, which tend to have a milder, more delicate peppery flavor, the Black radish can be very strong and pungent. This radish may be cooked like a turnip, creamed and served as a side dish, sautéed and braised to be served as a vegetable dish, or added to stir fry dishes. The skin (the black exterior) is not suitable for eating and is peeled off. It can also be served raw to be used as hors d’oeuvres, as a complement to salads and sandwiches or diced for use in soups and stews. This radish is also referred to as a Spanish Black Radish. It can be grated or sliced, eaten raw or cooked. If you have one or two kicking around, try them grated into your dinner salad or grated into a lentil or split pea soup. The black radish is part of the cuisine of continental Europe, in particular of eastern Europe. However, it is not commonly used in the UK or USA. When buying a black radish, choose one that is firm and crisp, with an even black exterior. Avoid ones that are soft or wrinkled. They can be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator (remove their leafy tops when storing).

Recipe:

Roasted Baby Beets with Passion Fruit Gelée, Horseradish and Ice Wine Mignonette
>Chef Tony Conte of The Oval Room – Washington, D.C.
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 4 Servings
Ingredients:
Beets:
 8 baby red beets
 8 baby yellow beets
 8 baby candy stripe beets
 1 sprig thyme
 1 teaspoon sage
 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 1 Tablespoon water
 Salt and white pepper, to taste

Mignonette:
 8 shallots, minced
 1 red Thai chili
 2 Tablespoons thyme, chopped
 ½ cup Minus 8 ice wine vinegar
 3 ounces red wine vinegar
 2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
 Salt and white pepper

Passion Fruit Gelée:
 16 sheets gelatin
 1 kilogram passion fruit purée

Garnish:
 Horseradish, cleaned, peeled and grated, to taste
 Micro arugula

Preparation
For the Beets:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Scrub beets and place each variety in a different pan. Mix thyme, sage, vinegar, olive oil, water, salt and pepper. Pour one third of the mixture over each kind of beet. Roast the beets for 35 – 45 minutes. Allow the beets to cool, then peel and quarter them keeping them separate.

For the Mignonette:
Combine the shallots, chili, thyme and vinegars. Marinate for 30 minutes. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Reserve at room temperature until ready to plate.

For the Passion Fruit Gelée:
Bloom the gelatin sheets in ice water. Bring the passion fruit purée to a boil and whisk in the gelatin. Pour it in a half sheet pan and chill in the refrigerator until completely set. Once set, finely dice and reserve in the refrigerator.

To Assemble and Serve:
Divide the beets evenly among 4 plates, such that each plate has 24 beet pieces, 8 of each color. Drizzle the mignonette around the plate and make three small piles of passion gelée. Garnish with the horseradish and micro arugula.

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