Two friends joined Dana and I for dinner at Parts and Labour in Toronto a few months ago. We were spoiled as Chefs Matty Matheson and Matthew DeMille sat us in the kitchen and encouraged us to eat a large percentage of the menu. We didn`t come close to completing a tour of their offerings (this would be impossible with 4 people) but certainly sampled a marathon of taste and were impressed at every turn in the menu (I can still remember 90% of what I ate that evening).
One of the dishes included a `black radish relish.` It was a small portion of condiment that I all but skipped over. I am not a chef and I`m not at their skill level – but I`m very comfortable making preserves and confident that my experience provides jars of food as flavorful as most can make.
We had finished the entire plate, minus the relish. I swept my fork through it, not really paying attention to it. I put it in my mouth without paying it much attention – until the flavor hit. It was sweet and sour and tangy and earthy and awesome. It was the best preserve I ate last year. It`s different from a traditional relish – it can easily be eaten on it`s own and it`s complimentary to mild tastes such as fish. I have some secret plans for this relish (that I will share if they work) but we`re going to let the flavors come together in the vinegar for 3-6 months first.
This is not their recipe – nor an attempt to duplicate what they did. It is a tribute to that evening and one of the best restaurants in this country.
Black Radish Relish
1 pound radishes (we used 3.5 pounds and multiplied the rest of the ingredients by this factor)
1/2 pound celery stalks (we used a full head of celery)
1 cup sweet onions
2 hot red peppers (we used 4 dehydrated ones)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dill seed
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
Vinegar to cover
- Chunk the radishes into relish-sized chunks. Here`s a trick on how to use a food processor to get awesome results.
- Chop celery and onion coarsely. I used a knife and some of the pieces are irregular in size (i.e. chunky) – because I plan to use this in meals (like fish), I opted for this texture rather than a consistently fine grate (like the radishes) that one would want on a sandwich spread.
- Combine all ingredients in a large pot, cover with vinegar and let stand at least 3 hours. I waited 24 hours.
- Find the dried peppers, remove from pot (they will be soft), chop them fine and return to pot.
- Bring to boil. Cook 10 minutes at a steady roll.
- Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal – process for 10 minutes if using pints (we went 25 with quarts to be safe).
We ended up with 5 liters (5 quarts).
When I was a child I collected comic books. There was a trend to tell an entire story without any text at one point – I`m really enjoying the same here lately. A picture of the final results follows at the very bottom here: