As an avid fan of anything and everything related to food, there is no stronger proof that I’m under the weather than when I want no part of it: not see it, not smell it, not read about it, not write about it, not be near it and certainly not eat it. Such has been the case for the last few days. While I wasn’t afflicted with a full-on stomach flu, my body was clearly trying to fight one off, as I completely lost my appetite, was in bed with body aches that would randomly come and go, and had ZERO physical and mental energy. I was feeling quite sorry for myself, trust me!
Hunter (aka nocturnal feeder extraordinaire) continues to wake me up 5-6 times per night to nurse, so my mystery illness may have just been a culmination of not getting a decent night’s sleep in recent – make that distant – memory, but that still doesn’t explain my very uncharacteristic loss of appetite (seriously, even on my deathbed I’m sure I’ll be sending requests for coffee and donuts). There’s a particularly virulent flu ravaging all of North America this year, so I’ll stick with my theory that maybe I had a touch of it, although no unsavoury bodily emissions actually occurred, thank goodness!
I prepared and photographed this salad last week, but before I could publish the recipe symptoms of the mystery illness began to take hold and suddenly I decided I hated food in all its forms. My own cooking struck me as particularly unappealing and consequently I felt entirely disinclined to write a single word about this salad for days. A quinoa and black bean-stuffed pepper concoction, although tasty, was another casualty of my being sick and also fell by the wayside. Now that I can face food again I’ll hopefully have the latter posted here ASAP as well 🙂
This salad was built around daikon radish and represents my first go with this ingredient. I had long been intrigued with daikon but always passed it by at the green grocer – along with celery root – as I didn’t know what it tasted like or what to do with it (the same still goes for celery root). Finally I took the plunge and found that although it looks radically different than the red radishes I normally use, its taste and texture are quite similar, although it’s maybe a bit milder and juicier.
My first instinct was to use the daikon raw in a salad, although it can also also be eaten cooked – GiRRL_Earth told me she added it to this minestrone soup recipe, and I also recently saw it stir fried with sesame oil here. So clearly it’s a versatile ingredient! I thought it was a nice addition to this salad and really liked it in combination with the pear-like flavour and crispness of the Mutsu apples, the fresh crunch of the celery and romaine hearts, and the zing of the blueberry-shallot dressing. While I’m in no position to attest to the purported anti-bacterial and ant-viral properties of daikon (sadly it didn’t have the power to halt the mystery illness in its tracks), I’ll certainly be bringing it into the rotation of vegetables I cook with on a regular basis 🙂
Recipe: Crunchy Daikon and Mutsu Apple Salad | With Blueberry-Shallot Vinaigrette
Makes 2 salads
For Blueberry Shallot Dressing:
- 1/2 cup blueberries (thawed if using frozen berries)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- 4 leave of romaine lettuce, shredded
- 1 daikon radish, sliced into 10 or so thin strips (using a mandolin or vegetable peeler)
- 1 Mutsu apple, cored and finely sliced
- 2 stalks of celery, finely sliced
- 1 small shallot, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup sweet green peas (thawed if using frozen peas)
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice