Author Notes:Maybe your usual salad song-and-dance is starting to bore you. For all of us in need of inspiration, thanks to April Bloomfield, we have not just a brilliant new recipe, but a bunch of new tricks for marching out whenever we please.
April Bloomfield’s Steamed and Raw Radish Salad with Kimchi and Sesame
Serves 4 to 6 (as a side)
3/4pound daikon radishes (each no thicker than 11/2 inches), peeled, topped, tailed, and cut into 1-inch irregularly shaped pieces
1pound mixed small radishes (some with pert greens left on), halved or quartered lengthwise if larger than 1 inch in diameter
3tablespoons sesame seeds
Maldon or another flaky sea salt
4tablespoons neutral oil, such as safflower or grapeseed
3/4cup roughly chopped drained kimchi, plus 2 tablespoons of the kimchi liquid
1teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1head Little Gem lettuce (or other crunchy lettuce like Romaine), root end and floppy outer leaves discarded, leaves separated
Put a steamer basket (or a colander, so long as the pot’s lid can still close) in a large pot with a lid. Add about 1/2 inch water to the pot, pop on the lid, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the daikon radishes to the insert, cover again, and let them steam until they’re fully tender but not mushy, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the daikon and let it cool.
Put the steamed and raw radishes in the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the sesame seeds in a small skillet. Set it over medium heat and toast, stirring and tossing frequently, until they’re a few shades darker, 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer them to a bowl to cool. Set 1 tablespoon of the seeds aside and pour the rest into a mortar, along with a pinch of salt. Thoroughly pound the seeds, add 1 tablespoon of the neutral oil, and stir until smooth.
Pulse half of the drained kimchi in a small food processor until you have a coarse puree (alternately, simply chop it finer by hand). Transfer it to a bowl and mix in the rest of the kimchi, the kimchi liquid, the sesame oil, the remaining 3 tablespoons of the neutral oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Combine the kimchi mixture, steamed radishes, raw radishes, and Little Gem leaves in a large bowl and toss well. Season to taste with salt and transfer the vegetables to a plate in a heap. Drizzle the sesame paste mixture over the vegetables, then sprinkle on the remaining sesame seeds.