Usually the color black in food equals burnt or charred. But a few black-hued foods have redefined things a bit — Arkansas black apples, black chick peas, “forbidden rice,” and of course this blog's namesake. But veering toward the vegetal, the black radishes now available from McGrath Family Farms are turning heads. Their rough, crackled, matte skin looks like it's been dipped in soot, a product of some interesting volcanic mutation perhaps. Dramatic for sure, especially when you slice it open to reveal completely white flesh, skin to center. And the taste? Potent.

The black radish — or Gros Noir d'Hiver, or Spanish black radish — is the daikon of Europe, flavorwise. The obvious difference lies with the size: the black radish maxes out at around a three to four inch diameter and is usually ball-like in shape. In taste, it can be substituted in any recipe that calls for daikon, or turnips for that matter, just be prepared for a little more radishy heat. This root packs a kick, is super crisp, and puts up with a lot of rough treatment.

This is a dense root, so when selecting your produce, you want it to be firm, not squishy or soft. This is especially true if you intend to pickle it, which we highly recommend. Master Food Preserver and executive chef at the Farmer's Kitchen Ernest Miller has a quick and easy refrigerator pickle that will extend the eatable life of your radishes and give you something chilled and interesting for your summer dinner party appetizers. The sweet and sour of the brine matches up nicely with the radish's natural bite.

Dilly Radishes

From: Chef Ernest Miller, MFP, Farmer's Kitchen

Note: Recipe may be multiplied depending on amount of radishes.

1 pound radishes, sliced thinly (~1/8″)

1 cup white wine vinegar

1 cup water

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 Tbs kosher salt

1 Tbs dill seed

1 Tbs red pepper flakes (optional)

2 dried bay leaves

1. Slice clean radishes thinly on a mandoline. To make the brine, combine the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt.

2. Cool the brine. Place radish slices in a clean glass jar or plastic container. Pour the cooled brine over the radishes until covered.

3. Place in the refrigerator overnight, though the flavor will develop over next 2-3 days. These will keep refrigerated up to two weeks.

LA Weekly