Crisp sticks of Asian pear and daikon are tossed with a brightly acidic vinaigrette to make this refreshing Asian Pear and Daikon Salad.
When I first saw this beautiful Asian Pear and Daikon Salad at Melissa’s Produce I was intrigued by its haute couture look — elegant white on white speckled with black sesame seeds. When I tasted it, there was a crisp explosion in my mouth with an intriguing sweet and slightly spicy flavor that I was so excited to recreate at home.
This lovely culinary creation comes from an equally elegant book by Diane Morgan, author of Roots: The Definitive Compendium.
Roots: The Definitive Compendium digs up the bounteous underworld root vegetables, from the familiar (beets, carrots, potatoes) to the unfamiliar (jicama, salsify, yuca) to the practically unheard of (cassava, galangal, crosnes). With all the fascinating history and lore, nutritional information, tips on buying and storing, you will have the answer to the oft-asked question “What is that and how do I use it?” And—the best part—more than 225 simple yet creative recipes that bring out their best flavors.
At Melissa’s Produce’s, Diane featured so many recipes including one made with celery root, a gnarly, hairy, muddy-bottomed orb you always wonder what to do with. Well, thanks to Diane, I now know they are worth seeking out, because they are sweet and earthy tasting in the best way AND they are nutritionally dense, boasting twice the amount of iron and five times the dietary fiber of a potato.
Celery Root is great raw in a salad and fabulous mashed as an alternative to potatoes.
Another featured subterranean goodie in Roots: The Definitive Compendium is ginger. Learn all about it then make Diane’s recipe for Homemade Ginger Ale pg. 145. It is simple to make and wildly delicious. I took it to a pool party, added ice and Stoli and we had a refreshing drink to keep cool in this Los Angeles heat wave.
Today’s Recipe: Asian Pear and Daikon Salad
If you are new to Daikon it is a member of the radish family and is a large long root that resembles a pale carrot. Daikon can grow up to 20 inches long, with a diameter of 4 inches. When it comes to flavor, daikon is milder and less peppery than other radishes. Served raw, it’s mild and tangy, with a crisp and juicy texture making it a perfect companion for crunchy, sweet and fragrant Asian pears.
Daikons are available year-round at Asian markets and some supermarkets.
You can buy Yuzu juice online or in an Asian market, or you can substitute equal parts of fresh lemon and lime juice.
This salad comes together easily and travels well for picnics.
Asian Pear and Daikon Salad
Asian Pear and Daikon Salad has a crunchy texture, a sweet and slightly spicy flavor and is brightened with a citrus vinaigrette.
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp. yuzu juice see Cook's Note
- 2 teaspoons grape seed oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 medium Asian pear 15 oz/430 g
- 8 oz/225 grams daikon radish
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yuzu juice, oil, sesame seeds, sugar and salt, dissolving the sugar and salt.
Halve and core the pear and cut into sticks about 3 in / 7.5 cm long and 1/4 in / 6 mm thick and wide. As the pear sticks are cut, add them to the dressing and stir to coat to prevent browning. Peel the daikon and cut into sticks the same size. Add them to the bowl and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld. (The salad will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.)
Yuzu is an aromatic citrus fruit native to East Asia. Look for bottled yuzu juice in Asian food stores and some specialty food market.
If you can't find Yuzu juice, substitute equal parts of fresh lemon and lime juice.
Roots: The Definitive Compendium is a comprehensive reference book and a cookbook of simple yet creative ways to prepare dozens of different root vegetables.
Next time you see an unfamiliar root, I challenge to buy it and give it a try.
...and then, she paused for thought.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of Roots: The Definitive Compendium to cook with, as always, all opinions are my own.
Nanette La Salle
That looks sooooooo good! A nice summer dish. Does it taste as good as it looks? Mmmmmmmmmm.
It tastes even better than it looks. This recipe is a keeper.
This is so pretty and it sounds very refreshing ~ perfect for these late hot days of summer!
Thanks Sue! Anything that is “no cook” is especially perfect for our current heatwave! Stay cool.
cathy – sounds delicious!
Thanks Susan. Can you get Daikon locally in France? If so please try this as I know you would love it.
Nanette La Salle
Beautiful! Just wondering how important is it to have an asian pear?
I think any crisp pear or apple would work as well.
Nanette La Salle
Thanks, can’t wait to try it! Also did you use your chopper gadget or a knife?
I actually needed to practice my knife skills, as you can see, still needs some improvement. LOL But, I am thinking this would work using an onion chopper.
That looks so good. Can you just come be my personal chef?
LOL! This salad is simple enough for you to make… but I am always happy to cook for you.
Love this Cathy! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Natalie! I found a Yuzu hot sauce at Trader Joes that kicks this salad up a notch you might want to check out!
valentina maria kenney wein
Cathy, I love the simplicity of this — and that at the same time it’s so interesting. And so pretty!
Thanks Valentina, it is a very unique salad and is a conversation piece at a party.
Christina | Christina's Cucina
I LOOOOVE daikon radish! It’s used a lot in Korean cuisine, so I’m a big fan. Truly, I dont’ use it enough, though. Would surely love this salad!
I rarely use daikon radishes and that is all about to change.
I am in love with Asian Pear in my salad these days… so this is a MUST TRY for me!!! Looks delicious!!!
I think you would really love this salad.
In all these comments only one person actually made this recipe. I’m glad everyone likes you and the look of this salad but What does it TASTE like?! I don’t know you at all and have no idea what kind of cook you are. I’m sure you do actually like it. But before I drive to the Asian market in search of 2 ingredients not available locally I would like to have some assurance from several other cooks and their family that it will be worth the effort and expense.