Pickles make the perfect project for a day off. A little chopping and dicing of vegetables, some whisking of water, salt, and sugar, and in a few hours you've got a snack for later or a sharp foil to an otherwise too-rich dish (hopefully involving pork belly, eggs, or the like). They're even better when you need a distraction from that mysterious headache you woke up with.
This recipe is delicious with most vegetables you can eat raw, including cucumbers, hakurei turnips, and green beans.
Two of our favorite pickled radish uses:
On a bacon sandwich: sriracha mayo, good crusty bread, arugula, pickled radishes, thick-cut bacon
In a rice bowl: white rice, sautéed spinach with a little sesame oil, pickled radishes, runny egg on top (extra points for seared pork belly, lardons, sausage, or whatever bits of indulgent cured meat parts you've got hanging out in your refrigerator/pantry/temperature-controlled meat cellar)
Sake Pickled Radishes
12 assorted radishes, washed, halved, and sliced about 1/4” thick into half moons
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 cup sake
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 small yellow or red finger hot chile
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
Toss the radishes with 2 teaspoons of the salt and place them in a colander. Put a small plate and a few heavy cans on top of the radishes. Allow the radishes to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse well with cold water and set aside to drain again.
In a small bowl, combine the sake, ginger, scallions, and chiles. In a small pot, mix the rice wine vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Heat to boiling, swirling to make sure all the sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat.
In a medium heatproof bowl, stir together the rinsed, drained radishes and the sake/ginger/scallion mixture. Pour in the hot liquid, mix well, and let stand until everything is room temperature. Refrigerate the pickles until well-chilled. The pickles will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, but they will start to lose some snappiness after a week or so. If you're a human being with working taste buds, we cannot imagine a situation in which they would last longer than a week.