The root on the platter
I liken horseradish to a poor man’s wasabi, a member of the same family but with a whole lot more kick.
Horseradish as a condiment can match most types of roasted red meats. At the same time, used sparingly, it can be a delicate addition to raw fish dishes.
There are a number of different ways of preparing horseradish. When serving alongside raw fish, for example, the last thing I add is the horseradish. I like to gently grate it over a microplane, which means I can see how much I add. A light dusting should do it.
I was once warned not to plant horseradish in the vegetable patch but instead plant it in a corner of the garden where nothing else would grow, or where I didn’t want anything else to grow.
I should have heeded this advice. I now have more horseradish than I could ever eat at home or ever use in the restaurants.
Horseradish grows like a weed, throwing tentacles and roots out in every direction. It takes root wherever it can, shooting off all over the garden.
For a condiment preparation, I usually grate and then pound the horseradish using a mortar and pestle. The pounding really activates the heat and flavour. I then add this horseradish pulp to my sauces.
Horseradish is rarely cooked, as heat destroys its pungency. I keep horseradish root in the fridge wrapped in foil to keep it out of the light. It seems to keep well this way.
Raw sea bream with fresh horseradish, shallot and lemon dressing
– 2 shallots, finely diced
– 3 tbsp lemon juice
– ½ tsp salt
– 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
– freshly ground black pepper
– 250g very fresh sea bream, skin removed
– fresh horseradish root, about 5cm long
In a small bowl stir together the shallots, lemon juice, salt, grapeseed oil and pepper. Check the seasoning and set the dressing aside for 15 minutes to “pickle” the shallots, which will mellow in flavour.
Slice the fish into four-millimetre slices and lie them over the base of a serving plate. Just before eating, season the fish with a little salt and spoon a generous amount of dressing over the top.
Finish the dish with a dusting of freshly grated horseradish.
Makes two-thirds of a cup
– 1½ tbsp finely grated fresh horseradish
– 3 tsp Dijon mustard
– ½ tsp salt
– 2 tsp lemon juice
– ⅓ cup cream
In a mixing bowl whisk the ingredients together until the cream thickens slightly and forms soft peaks. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste, if necessary.
2016 Kidoizumi Shizenmai Sparkling sake, junmai yamahai muroka nama genshu, Chiba, Japan (360ml; $29) – Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Dec 3, 2016 as "Raw sea bream with fresh horseradish, shallot and lemon dressing ". Subscribe here.