Last week I was supposed to attend a Sustainable Food Boston Potluck, but some personal business out of town kept me from growing. But out of it came this great recipe that is not only perfect for summer but also most of the ingredients can be found at your local farmers markets (only limes were from the regular store).
I RSVP’d that I would be attending the Potluck and then proceeded to panic. I was not 100% sure what sustainable food was or what I could make and still keep it Guatemalan. I am The Gringo Chapin after all so it would make sense that I serve a Guatemalan dish. Carlos came home and I quickly barraged him with questions. Ran down the list of what was available at the Salem Farmers Market. So we came up with ensalada de rabano y pepino. Now I just prayed I would find radishes, cucumbers and onions at the farmers market the next day so he could quickly teach me the recipe so I could make it myself the next week.
So as luck would have it I did find everything at the farmers market. Well everything but the limes and I wasn’t really expecting to find them there (Massachusetts is not really known for their citrus crops). I found the most beautiful red radishes with their greens still intact. What radishes don’t grow in a plastic bag? I found big beautiful green cucumbers not covered in wax or whatever it is they are covered in when you buy them at the store. Then I saw the most gorgeous purple onions with the stems still attached. Bright purple! It was love at first sight!
So my bountiful laden bag and I (I also bought corn, bread and dog treats) headed home to wait for Carlos to come home and teach me how to make this salad.
Oh wait I still needed limes. Off to Whole Foods I go because I needed organic limes. Apparently organic is okay with sustainable food people even though they were grown thousands of miles away in Mexico! But I was desperate.
So Carlos finally made it home and bless his heart after a long day at work in a cubicle he found it in him to teach me how to make ensalada de rabano y pepino on this 90 something degree day.
Ensalada de Rabano y Pepino
1 Pound fresh radishes (approximately 4 bunches)
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp salt
1. Trim the stem and root ends of the radishes. Thinly slice the radishes about a 1/8″ thick and place in a large bowl.
2. Peel the cucumbers and then cut the ends off. Taking a fork drag the tines down the cucumber making striped indentations in the cucumber. Cut the cucumber in circles about a 1/4″ of an inch thick. Add to the radishes in the bowl.
3. Slice the onion in half rings about the same thickness as the radishes. Add to the bowl.
4. Add salt and lime juice to taste; Add enough lime juice so there is plenty of liquid in the bowl. Stir everything together and taste. If you feel it needs more lime juice then add it.
5. Let the salad sit for a half hour or so in the refrigerator to let all the flavors marry. If you let it sit too long before serving, it will begin to turn pink, but it will still tastes great!
This dish goes well with Jocon since the acidity from the lime juice cuts through the richness of the Jocon..
Gringo Trivia: There is an old wives tale in Guatemala that when you cut the ends off the cucumber, you must rub the ends back on the cucumber they were cut from. Carlos and his family have been doing this as long as he can remember and tells me this takes away the bitterness in the cucumber.