In anticipation of the great food holiday of Thanksgiving, I'm going to post several food-related items. I'm not necessarily suggesting these items for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner but they all come from a late Autumn harvest. We'll start with the humble but hot horseradish root.
The Horseradish Plant
Last spring I planted horseradish in the garden. I planted a section of root and its green leaves, tightly bunched, grew over summer. With colder weather, the leaves died off and the root can be harvested. This past weekend, I dug out a small piece and set out to make my own prepared or preserved horseradish.
The Peeled Root
You can see the root at the top of the photo. First, I cleaned and peeled the root. It is a lot like a cross between carrot and parsnip. Then I diced it. Wondering how it tasted raw, I chewed a small piece of the root. It was like a flash of white lightning. Very sharp, coming on in a sudden burst, a bit like wasabi but different. I spit it out, and then immediately regretted doing so. It's cool-hot like a radish, but it really is a horse of a radish.
The Prepared Horseradish
Next I put the diced horseradish root in a food processor, added cider vinegar, and gave it a whirl. That's all it took. As you can see from the photo, the result is milky white.
Next time, I will try to grate the horseradish instead of dicing it. The chunks of the horseradish from the food processor were a bit too coarse.
Now, this prepared horseradish can be tasted as is, and it is tasty. I could also add the horseradish to ketchup with some lemon juice for shrimp. Honestly I could skip the shrimp altogether and just lap up the horseradish sauce. It's a nice ingredient to add to salad dressings, especially Asian style dressings. Of course, it's an ingredient in Bloody Mary mix. My favorite horseradish application, though, is on a good piece of beef, like prime rib. I don't know how it would mix with turkey but I might just try it. Let me know if you have any ideas.
According to horseradish.org, Dagwood Bumstead enjoyed horseradish regularly in the popular comic strip, "Blondie," created originally by Chic Young in 1930.