When I stayed in a zen temple in France, they taught me to eat them with butter and salt.
Later, I got the idea of making 'tataki' with them from culinary artist Itsuko Makita's recipe in the Croissan Bio magazine (Japanese cooking magazine on macrobiotic-style recipes). Now when I find plump radishes, this is what I often make.
The name 'tataki,' when used in a vegetable dish, is a technique of cracking vegetables (it comes from the verb 'tataku' which means 'punch' or 'knock'). It's a technique often used with cucumber and burdock. Cracked vegetables absorb condiments better, and have a nice texture that makes them more pleasant to eat.
It's also fun to do; I usually use a wooden spatula, but you can also use a rolling pin (which Ms. Makita suggests). After that, just a pinch of salt, then a splash of lemon, which brightens up the color of the radishes.
The garnish is made with lemon peel. In Japanese cooking, there are various styles of cutting garnish; the one I did here is one of the easiest ones, called 'kumi-matsuba,' or crossed pine needles. You can make it by cutting out a small rectangle, cutting two slits to make an "s," then crossing the two ends together. —Kyoko Ide
radish, leaves and root ends cut off
juice of half lemon
In This Recipe
Crack the radishes with a wooden spatula or rolling pin. Add the salt and the lemon juice and mix well. Set aside for a few minutes.
Cut the lemon peel, make 'crossed pine needles', and put it on the radishes as garnish (optional).