Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Daikon Pappardelle with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Looks like a pretty pappardelle pasta dish.  But it isn’t pasta.  It’s daikon root, shaved into long peels with a vegetable peeler.
Daikon is a type of radish, but much milder than the red radish most of us are familiar with.  It’s shaped like a carrot, but fatter.  Daikon is used often in Asian, particularly Japanese, cooking, as well as in macrobiotic cooking.  It’s low in calories, high in vitamin C, and supposedly aids in digestion; thus it’s considered a weight-loss food.
Personally, I think it makes a pretty side dish.  I also like to use the above salad as a beautiful garnish on top of other salads, or bean dishes, or rice dishes… etc.
Sliced into rounds, and simmered in soy sauce and mirin, the cooked daikon takes on a sweeter, softer texture.
But let’s talk about how to make daikon salad with pumpkin seed pesto.  This recipe takes about 5 minutes to make, and the daikon can be replaced or accompanied by carrots, squash, zucchini, or anything else you can peel!
You’ll need:
1/2 small daikon root
2 Tbsp pesto (try this recipe, or this one. You can replace the herbs and nuts with any leafy herb and nut/seed you like – or just buy a jar)
1 lemon wedge
1 chopped umeboshi plum and toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
a vegetable peeler
Begin by peeling the daikon root and slicing it into paper-thin peels with the vegetable peeler.
Using your hands, massage the pesto and lemon juice into the daikon peels, coating well.
Use your fingers to set the daikon gently onto a plate, or on top of a rice or bean dish, so that it forms a pretty nest. Top with the ume plum and seeds.

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