Well, these were such a pleasant surprise! I wanted to make them to go with a meal I was making; they were kind of an afterthought, really. I’d seen recipes for ‘pickled’ radishes before that you could put together in ten minutes, and filed the idea away for later use. Today (except it won’t be today by the time you read this, but some unspecified time in the past – does that make you dizzy? You are literally living in the future. Wow.) I was making dinner that involved a lovely piece of mackerel, some spicy noodles and chargrilled asaparagus, and while I was browsing for the asparagus I noticed a bag of radishes. I like radishes, quite often buying them to garnish stir fries and soups, and I thought that this would be the ideal occasion to try out one of these quick pickle recipes. They would serve alongside that lovely, green asparagus to balance the oily fish and spicy noodles.
As I often do, I searched from my phone for quick pickle recipes, as I walked from the supermarket to my flat. It only takes about ten minutes, and in fact might be quicker if I didn’t have my nose pressed against that tiny phone screen the whole time, but it’s a part of the recipe forming process for me, and helps me to plan out exactly what I’ll do when I get in. I came across two radish recipes that I liked – this one on Kitchenist and this one on Cooking With Amy. I made something like a combination of the two, with my own additional input.
Now is the time to note that I have just bought myself yet more varieties of salt to add to my collection. The one I was most looking forward to trying is the hibiscus salt, which is just over half way down the page. The truth is that I was disappointed that, in real life, the colour is not like the deep purple in the photo. However, the flavour is lovely, very delicately floral – and you know I love floral flavours. Here’s a real life photo:
I couldn’t resist using this salt in the radishes, the colours were so perfectly matched and I thought the hibiscus would add another hint of flavour to the pickles. I thinly sliced the radishes and cut two slices of ginger into thin batons, then mixed it all together with a teaspoon of salt. This rested for five minutes, to draw out the excess liquid in the radishes.
While the radishes and salt were getting to know each other, I dissolved 4 tsp of granulated sugar in 2 tbsp of rice vinegar. It took quite a lot of stirring, and not a little vinegar splashing, but eventually it came together. When the five minutes were up, I drained the radishes and ginger, then laid out in almost a single layer and patted dry with a paper towel.
I put the whole lot into a spice jar and poured over the vinegar mixture, then put the jar in the fridge until I was ready to eat. These aren’t properly pickled or preserved – I’ll try to come back and edit in a ‘use by’ time frame, after which they’ll probably be a soggy, vinegary mess.
I expected only to eat two or three slices with dinner and I just kept coming back for more, more, more. The pickles are crunchy, salty, sweet, sour, gingery and a tiny, tiny bit hibiscus-y, and I don’t think I’m inagining that. They are also a beautiful colour, like cherry blossoms. So appropriate for the huge amount of sunshine and warm spring weather we’ve been having this week. They complemented the rich mackerel so well, better even than I thought they would, but were also fine on their own, after the rest of the plate had been wiped clean. Add all this to the fact that they’re ready in ten minutes and there’s really no reason not to try them.
I found making and photographing these pickles to be such a peaceful process. My kitchen doesn’t really do natural light, as you can tell from most of my photos, but on this day I felt like the low light added a nice element of calm and quiet to the photos. The shadows were flattering to the bold pinks and delicate whites, rather than obscuring them. I didn’t play any music, or have the TV on in the background, or sing or talk to myself like I usually do; I made the pickled radishes, and I was in the moment. It was very zen. I must make them more often.