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Watermelon Radish with Wild Watercress, Cremini Mushrooms, and Honey-Sherry Vinaigrette

Watermelon Radish and Watercress Salad

“It’s six o’clock in the morning. I’ve been awake since midnight after an unfortunate incident involving a sleepy, careless brunette-haired monster who ruthlessly edged her way into the slender crack in the couch next to me. I’ve been planning my course of action, my revenge, if I can confide, for the better part of the sleepless night. I am to wake her at sunrise and carry on with my plan from there. “At sunrise”, I tell myself… at sunrise.

I poke her shoulder with my pointed finger and whisper in the delicate tone of a scheming child, “Brittany…? Brittany…?” No response; impatient with my plan I tap harder, to be sure that I wake her, as she had done to me, and mutter in my revised but still unassuming tone, “do you want to go to the farmer’s market with me?” The question resonates for an eternity until she finally musters a response…” To be continued.

…just a snippet from my upcoming food inspired novel… kidding, of course.

It is a true story, however. And although it wasn’t in the dramatic fashion usually evoked from the phrase, she did say ‘yes.’ But only after much poking, prodding, and deal making.

The market I’m referring to is the Pepper Place Market in downtown Birmingham, about a 45 minute drive from where we are in the Tuscaloosa, a college town located in the southwest region of Alabama. If you remember (see: Pepper Place Farmer’s Market)  we had eagerly gone in February only to find little in the way of fresh food. But this time was sure to be different. Pepper Place had officially opened for spring and I was determined to go, come Hell or high water.

As it turned out, it was completely worth it. Farm fresh strawberries, rutabaga, parsnips, lemon thyme, and other early-in-the-season goodies were abound at the market. But the star of the show was wild watercress. I’m sure you can imagine my amazement, “Wild watercress?!?! You mean you foraged for this stuff?” That’s right–wild watercress, it all it’s crunchy and intensely peppery glory (alongside a trio of cremini mushrooms).

Cremini Mushrooms with Watercress

Watermelon Radish with Wild Watercress, Cremini Mushrooms, and Honey-Sherry Vinaigrette (serves 4 as a side-salad):

For the salad:

  • 1 large watermelon radish, washed
  • 4 cremini mushrooms, washed
  • 1 large bunch watercress, washed
  • 1 cup honey-sherry vinaigrette

With a mandolin slicer, or a sharp knife and some amazing knife skills, slice the watermelon radish into 1/8″ thick slices. Slice the mushrooms 1/4″ thick.

For the honey-sherry vinaigrette (makes 1 cup):

Adapted from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table

Honey-Sherry Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 chives, finely sliced
  • 3/4 cup light olive or canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, honey, parsley, and chives. Slowly whisk in the oil, being careful not to break the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Watermelon Radish Salad with cremini mushrooms

Music to Cook By: Ray Lamontagne – Trouble Click to listen for free at Grooveshark!

“[...] an instant classic. Ray LaMontagne’s new release Troubleis one such record. [...] one is sure to recognize the instantly accessible sound, the righteous vocals, and the truly great musicality. But the truly great experience comes when listening to the full record, song after song of blissful melody and easy rhythm. [...] Trouble is packed with the kind of rock music that wraps itself calmly around your heart and squeezes, instilling warmth and a peaceful sense of well-being. – Hybrid Music

Follow me on Twitter: Don’t forget! Did you make the recipe and want to share how it turned out? Do you like the pictures? Dig the music? Just want to say hello? Add me on Twitter @cblackwell44, introduce yourself, and tell me about it! (the button to add is located at the top of every page)  - Chase


1 Mom { 04.20.10 at 9:30 pm }

This is reminescent of the salad that we had a Christmas with the exception of course of the “wild” watercress. Hey, I did use the sourcream in the Salmon dish and while the salmon was excellent, the sauce was off and now I know why. I think I should just plan ahead and make the creme fraiche. Anyway, I enjoyed the story and I think I will retry the salmont his weekend .. properly. Love Mom

2 Liam O'Malley { 04.21.10 at 3:28 pm }

Just had a TON of watercress delivered from my CSA.. not sure if I can find watermelon radishes but if I have to sub regular ones it’ll probably be okay. Looks good!
.-= Liam O’Malley´s last blog ..BBQ Chicken with Ramp Mustard and Sweet Potato Fries =-.

3 Chase { 04.21.10 at 3:52 pm }

Liam – Very cool about the CSA. We are starting ours the first week of May. Can’t wait to see what it’s like!

And yes you could substitute regular radishes for the watermelon ones. There isn’t anything particularly special about a watermelon radish aside from it’s beauty!

4 sandra { 04.22.10 at 3:33 am }

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