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Monday, November 14, 2011

crispy daikon radish cakes

I am beside myself with excitement over broccoli. 

Okay, maybe that came out a little too strongly. I am having a decent time fixing broccoli this week for my family. Which is good, considering the 16 heads of broccoli I got in the last two installments of my Abundant Harvest Organics box.

However, before I can tell you about all the amazing broccoli feats that are happening with lightning speed around here, I feel it is my duty to discuss other things first.

So sorry to get your hopes up and then dash them like that. I know you may not sleep well until the broccoli news hits the stands, but just think of how this delayed gratification is making you a stronger person.

Before I can move forward with anything else, really, I feel I have an obligation to discuss the daikon radish.

The who?

The Daikon Radish.

It came in my box this week.

You don't need to peel these. You can sort of see here how the
 little hairs all grow in a line down the radish? I just scrubbed well,
scraped off that one line on either side, and left the rest intact.

These three daikon radishes are each about 18 inches long. The sizeof them sort of shocked me. I thought they seemed awfully tiny. You see last year, about our second week into subscribing to Abundant Harvest (but before I thought to regale you with my tales of vegetable heroism), we received the first daikon radish of my life. And it terrified me. I had never seen or heard of daikon radish before that guy landed in my kitchen. And, measuring approximately thirty inches long and about 8 inches around, he was about as big as my arm. There is a daikon recipe in this post, I swear. I am eventually going to get around to sharing it with you, really. But to first give you perspective, the three daikon radishes above make one batch. That giant I had last year? He himself made three batches of crispy daikon cakes. No lie.

I wonder what is more typical. I only have had two polar-opposite experiences with daikon radishes, and I can't begin to imagine what an average daikon looks like. It's like putting my five year-old and Shaquille O'Neal next to each other and saying "These are males."

Anyway, all of this is to tell you that when I saw these junior daikon, I wasn't even fazed. I know just what to do with them, and they seemed so small as to be laughable.

However, over the course of the past year, I seem to have talked 5 or 6 of my friends into subscribing to Abundant Harvest (hi guys!). I am really not a salesperson. The way I talked them into it is through such luring statements as "Dammit. I have to go pick up my veggies tomorrow morning and I am not even halfway done with the last box. And I still have potatoes form weeks and weeks ago. And I just don't feel like dealing with it all!"

Somehow that got them to want to jump on the bandwagon. 

But, I remember clearly my first daikon of last year, and I remember that feeling of bewilderment and befuddlement.  And since I know that a lot of my friends have a daikon radish languishing in the fridge, I can't in good faith wait another day to help them out with a little suggestion of what to do.

And so, my fellow box getters, and all of you out there in the world who want to try out a daikon radish, I have for you this very yummy recipe. These little cakes are similar to a latke, but made with radish instead of potato, and with a little more Asia and a little less Israel. The radish flavor, although there, isn't nearly as strong as your average little red radish. They are divine dipped in a bit of soy sauce, and if you plan to make them, please invite me over!

Crispy Daikon Radish Cakes
I got this recipe from the gal who distributes my box for me each week. I have no idea where she got it, sorry!

Enough daikon radish to make 3 packed cups when grated (about three of these sized daikons)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 green onions, minced
1 egg
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
About 1/2 cup panco bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

Run the daikon through a food processor, or grate by hand. Put it all in a colander with the salt, mix well, and let it sit for 30 minutes (no longer -- it will become something like sauerkraut).

Squeeze the water out of the daikon with your hands.  You want the daikon really dry.

While the daikon is draining, in a large bowl, beat the egg, and stir in the green onion, flour, sesame oil and pepper. Stir the squeezed daikon.

Form cakes, about 1/3 cup of this mixture each,  that are about 1/2 inch thick.  You will make about 8-10 cakes.

Scatter some panko on a plate and bread the top and bottom of each cake with a layer of panko.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil (I use a combination of olive oil and a little more sesame oil) in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Pan fry the cakes until the bottoms are golden brown.

Flip the  cakes over and add a little more oil and continue to pan fry until golden brown.

Serve with soy sauce.