The first time I stumbled upon watermelon radishes was at the Berkeley Farmers Market, more than 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 a radish so... large. She took a knife out from her back pocket and cut it open.
I was in awe. The vibrant 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 vibrant slices onto the creamy butter and sprinkled Maldon salt over the top. It was perfect.
Since that first "kiss" some two years ago, watermelon radishes grace our 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 lookout 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 spring time, doesn’t it?
Using a mandoline, slice the fennel and radishes into thin slices and scatter onto a plate. Drizzle with the olive oil and squeeze the lemon juice on top. Season with Maldon salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.