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.
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.
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.