Black radish, also known as Spanish radish, is the root of a herbaceous plant of the same family as the red radish, the Brassica family. Less popular than the red variety, this radish has a rough black skin and white flesh that is both bitter and peppery which is suitable to be eaten raw or cooked. Black radish has many medicinal properties and is greatly used in phytotherapy. It cleanses the liver and aids digestion. In short, black radish gives the perfect detox.
Black radishes are found in winter in markets. They can measure up to 20 cm in length, but you should choose small or medium radishes. The larger ones may be hollow or bland. Choose radishes with smooth skin free of blemishes or cracks.
Peel black radish before use. To tone down its strong flavor, one tip is to cut it into slices and let sweat in kosher (coarse) salt.
Black radish can be blanched, roasted, and pan-fried.
Black radish can be eaten raw, shredded with remoulade, or cut into thin slices to garnish a mixed salad. Add crème fraîche to tone down its hotness. It can also be a base for appetizers topped with salmon tartar, for instance. Black radish is cooked the same way as turnip. It can be prepared as a puree, cream soup, or as a savory tart with carrot.
Black radish can be stored in the vegetable crisper drawer of the refrigerator for about a week. To freeze, cut into slices or dice.
Black radish has few calories. It is high in sulfur compounds and vitamin C, which gives it protective qualities. It also contains large amounts of specific compounds (isothiocyanate and glucosinate), which give it antibacterial and anticarcinogenic properties. It is commonly used in phytotherapy in the form of juice for its beneficial effects on liver and gallbaldder function.
There are three main varieties of black radish: Noir Long Maraîcher; Noir Gros Long d'Hiver de Paris, longer and thinner than the first; and Round Black Spanish, which is round.