Posted by: Hil | April 25, 2013

Roasted Daikon

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Gigantic daikon radishes are cheap at my local farmer’s market right now.   My pictures do not do not do justice to the size of these things.  They are enormous.  So naturally I come home with one almost as long as my arm before I have the slightest idea what I was going to do with it.  I have always eaten daikon radishes raw, either cut into plain sticks (like jicama) or in a crunchy, vinegary salad with carrots and bell peppers.  The Lemonator does not like raw radish, and I had doubts about my ability to polish off the entire thing alone.  I began to wonder if it was possible to cook with daikon.  Per the internet, daikon can be cooked—even cut up and roasted.  I had never tasted cooked radish in my life, but I am game to try anything once.

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Since there were lots of great root veggies at the farmers market, I decided to roast it with chicken and other vegetables. This way, if the Lemonator did not like it, he would still have other parts of the meal to eat. I cut up the daikon into cubes, tossed it with a bit of olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper and roasted it at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  My personal secrets to juicy roast chicken with delicious crispy skin are:

  • Bone in, skin on chicken thighs or leg quarters.  They are cheaper, juicier and more flavorful than white meat chicken.  I find it difficult to keep roasted white meat juicy while still crisping up the skin.
  • Pat the skin dry and season well with Lawry’s seasoned salt before cooking.  I know, I know, but it is delicious!  If you must, you can use regular salt.  Make sure that the skin is adjusted to fully cover the top of the meat—you do not want it sliding off, as this will let your meat dry out.
  • Bake at 400 for 45 minutes to start.  It may take up to an hour depending on your chicken.  Because of the fat in the skin and meat, chicken thighs are very forgiving and shouldn’t dry out if you need to cook them longer.  Your gauge for doneness is the skin:  it should be a beautiful deep golden brown.  Most of the fat should have rendered out, leaving the skin thin, crisp and stiff to the touch.
  • If you have potato lovers in the house, you can put thinly sliced potato under the chicken.  As the chicken cooks, the tasty fat will render out and soak into the potatoes.  This is very festive and tasty.

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Yum. And it is true: you really can cook daikon radishes!  They are much milder and less spicy in their cooked form—almost like a juicy potato with a mild radish flavor.  The Lemonator even happily ate a portion.

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I love raw daikon, but after trying them this way, I think that the cooked version will be making a repeat appearance in my kitchen.

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