The things I do when Mr. Man is out of town - or - Dinner party part one, The most amazing watermelon radish salad ever

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Okay, let us first start off with the claim I just made - that this is best radish salad ever.  It really is.  I hope that you won't judge it by the pictures.  I know that my photos can't compete with the likes of some of the great food blogs out there, but I need you to trust me on this one and eat this salad.

I made this salad as part of a dinner party that I hosted for some girlfriends.  Mr. Man is out of town right now and although I always miss him terribly, I like to take advantage and do all the things I don't do when he is home.   I think everyone has a list like this. 

My list goes a little something like this:

Leave my dirty clothes on the bathroom floor. 

Not eat complete meals...just snack directly from the refrigerator. 

Crawl into bed with my computer at 7 pm.

Eat Brussels sprouts in large quantities (I did not know until just now that Brussels is capitalized and has an s on the end.  My love affair with Brussels is so new and I have so much to learn).

Turn the heat way up high. 

Watch Glee without commentary.
Eat sweet and savory foods....which is one of the inspirations of this salad.

This salad was also inspired by watermelon radishes.   They are hot pink on the inside and light green on the outside.  Such a welcome hint of color in the drab wintertime and as we all know (at least those of us who are dedicated to The Birdcage) one must have one tiny hint of color!

Anyway, this salad was a great way to start an amazing dinner party with some new and old friends back here in the Bay Area.  It was a night filled with such good company that it spilled over into the food I was making and made it taste amazing.  The next day I was filled with a warm cozy vibe from the night before and the feeling that I was starting to rebuild my community here.  I hope this salad tastes as good for you as it did for me.

Sweet and Savory Watermelon Radish Salad 
serves 6

One other note on watermelon radishes.  They are much more mild and less bitter than regular radishes.  If you are not normally a fan, give these a try and omit the regular radishes. Also, you can substitute sour cream in place of the creme fraiche if you don't have it or don't want to splurge.  In place of the pepitas you could substitute pine nuts, slivered almonds, pecans, etc. 

For the Salad:
1-2 large watermelon radishes, thinly sliced
a handful of regular radishes, thinly sliced
3 heads endives, halved, hearts removed, and sliced lengthwise
6 tsp. creme fraiche
For the Honeyed Pepitas:
1/2 cup raw pepitas
2-3 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. sea salt, the bigger the salt pieces the better
parchment paper

For the Vinaigrette:
juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup grapeseed or other light oil
sea salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste (you can use black too, but I think that this salad looks prettier with the white since it blends in)

First prepare the pepitas.  Put the pepitas in a frying pan over medium heat.  Toast them for a minute then add the honey and continue to toast them in the pan for another three or four minutes until the pepitas are golden.  Once they are done spread them out on parchment paper, sprinkle with the sea salt, and allow them to cool.

Before you plate the salads, go ahead and make the vinaigrette by mixing together all the ingredients and set aside.  

To prepare the salad, first divide the endives evenly among six plates.  Then divide the regular radishes among the plates, followed by the watermelon radishes.  Top with the honeyed pepitas and finally a dollop of the creme fraiche.  

Dress the salads just before you serve them.  The vinaigrette causes the colors from the watermelon radish to leech from them and run. 

6 comments:

dbelle said... February 17, 2011 at 8:45 AM  

i was laughing reading about all the things you do when Chuck isn't there since that's what I do all the time ;) There are upsides to being single!

That looks sooo yummy- I can't tell you how jealous I am/how much i wish I had been there :( Makes me sentimental.

Also, those watermelon radishes are beautiful. sigh.

dbelle said... February 17, 2011 at 8:46 AM  

PS- I'm so glad you are enjoying brussel sprouts!!

S said... February 17, 2011 at 3:04 PM  

I'll vouch for it being an amazing (and very pretty looking) salad! Thanks again for the great food and company.

Marisa said... February 22, 2011 at 5:46 AM  

Chuckled when reading this post - this sounds pretty much exactly like what I do. :-) Great looking salad - sounds very refreshing.

chrysta said... February 27, 2011 at 11:32 AM  

Thanks for posting this!! I love watermelon radishes. I only found them this year and I have been looking for new things to do with them. What a cool idea!!

Indie.Tea said... March 4, 2011 at 2:30 AM  

The salad sounds delicious. I sort of like having the house to myself too - to relax and do silly things :)

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