Make Ahead

Quick Radish Relish

May 18, 2012
3 Ratings
  • Serves 8 "topping" servings
Author Notes

This flash-pickling side/salsa comes together in minutes. So far I've just eaten it with a spoon, but I image it would be quite nice tossed with still-warm, lightly distressed new potatoes. Or maybe white fish, chicken or shrimp. Or as a sandwich topping, perhaps to lend balance to pulled pork, or another rich, stewed meat. (Note: I ate this, a day old, tossed with some Israeli cous cous, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a touch of leftover avocado to delicious results.) —Cristina Sciarra

Test Kitchen Notes

This relish is similar to a cucumber salad that my husband makes from his days working in his father’s grocery store, but much better. The lime and rice vinegar make the salad gently tart, and the honey makes it gently sweet. The oil adds needed heat and roundness. (Daunted by 4 tablespoons of chili oil, I used olive oil and added red pepper flakes till it was hot enough.) I also salted the onions ahead of time to soften them, and used the juice of the whole lime. A really wonderful and versatile recipe. —drbabs

What You'll Need
  • the juice of 1/2 a small lime
  • 1.5 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small bunch of radishes
  • 1 small English cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • a pinch of sea salt, a crack of black pepper
  1. Add the lime juice and the rice vinegar to a small bowl, giving them a quick whisk to combine. Add the honey, and then the oil. Whisk briskly until the oil and the vinegar come together.
  2. Peel the onion. Slice it in half lengthwise, and then cut each half into slices, as thin as possible. Move the slices to the dressing bowl. (I like to do this first, so the onion has a chance to mellow in the vinegary dressing while I prepare the rest of the ingredients.)
  3. Wash and cut the ends off of all the radishes. Slice them up crosswise, as thinly as possible. Set aside.
  4. Wash the cucumber. Slice this up crosswise too, again, as thinly as possible.
  5. In a large bowl, toss together the dressing, the onion, the radish, the cucumber and the chickpeas. Give it a taste. It almost certainly needs some sea salt. A swift crack of black pepper is a good idea too.
  6. You can eat this right away, while all the vegetables are still crisp, or you can let it sit for a bit. Letting it sit will make liquidy, more of a sauce.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lily Villa
    Lily Villa
  • Jaynerly
  • drbabs
  • susan g
    susan g
  • EmilyC
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at

14 Reviews

Lily V. July 1, 2014
Wonderful recipe! I made it according to the recipe (first time) and it's already delicious and so pretty too.
Jaynerly June 13, 2012
I made these and loved them! I used chilli infused olive oil. Great recipe!
drbabs May 28, 2012
Funny, I made it with olive oil and just added red pepper flakes till I got the level of heat I wanted.
Cristina S. May 29, 2012
That sounds good too, drbabs!
susan G. May 28, 2012
I made it tonight with some incendiary Chinese chili oil. I used 1 tablespoon, and it would be fine with another teaspoon. I think it depends on the oil; they probably are very variable. To me, radishes and cucumbers are a bit dull, and this kind of shock treatment is very good for them!
Cristina S. May 29, 2012
I think you're right, Susan--I bet every chili oil is a little different. Good idea to kind of test as you go, until you get the kind of heat you're looking for.
nutcakes May 25, 2012
I also think this sounds great except for the amount of chile oil, I'd make it. It is just the kind of thing I like, I might try with 4 tsp chile oil. Photo is tantalizing.
drbabs May 25, 2012
Cristina, this looks delicious. Question for you--is it really 4 tablespoons of chili oil?
Cristina S. May 25, 2012
Hm. To be honest with you, I just kind of glugged some into a bowl when I was making it! I think maybe I overestimated when I was writing the recipe down. Perhaps start with two, then taste the dressing before you add more. (You can always sub in some neutral oil if you like.) Sorry not to be more exact!
Cristina S. May 25, 2012
Oops, I just checked my cabinet-- I was using a chili-infused olive oil! So yes, I would recommend much less chili oil. Sorry for the confusion!
drbabs May 25, 2012
Thanks for clearing that up.
EmilyC May 24, 2012
Love this! (I also think those cute little jars can make anything more fun to eat!)
Summer O. May 22, 2012
Looks lovely!
hardlikearmour May 19, 2012
Your photo is gorgeous! I think this would make an interesting variation for a muffaletta sandwich.