For only 1 net carb per ounce (as opposed to 5 net per ounce for potatoes), the terrific root vegetable known as the daikon radish is a crowd pleaser.
I have tried daikon (mooli for our friends outside of the US) for various uses and found my favorite as a baked addition to the au gratin to be my personal favorite of all of the methods I have attempted.
The daikon radish is wonderful. With a mild flavor, and just the right amount of body, thin-sliced performs admirably in dishes where potatoes have long been missed.
Your best bet with daikon is to remove the outer skin, slice as thin as you can, soak in a cold saltwater bath for about 20 minutes, pat dry and then put them in any dish where you used sliced potatoes before. Perfection ensues and your family will be like, “What?!” But why tell them? It’s our little secret.
Speaking of secrets, the other day, I was taking a business call, when my high schoolers called for a ride home.My college-aged son ran out the door to get them.
Ten minutes later, my oldest walks through the door with the teens in tow, wearing nothing but his t-shirt, boxer shorts and boots. I said, “Did you seriously drive to get the kids in your underwear?!” And my college kid looks down slowly, and then at me with a big cheesy grin and says (in his best, “Are you Being Served” Ernest Granger, slow-mo, codgery British accent), “Damn… I seem to have forgotten my pants.”[He didn't. His natural state is in his underwear]
“You’d regret the pat-down if the officer pulled you over.”
“I guess I didn’t have my wallet either. I have no pockets.”
Faceplam. Thankfully he wore trousers and a dapper jacket when he spoke at a small graduation later that day. I can’t imagine how that event would have unfolded otherwise, especially with a buffet table nearby.
Things to keep in mind:
- I sliced my veggies using a meat slicer for thin slices, but you can use a sharp knife.
- Slice the veggies into rounds, not lengthwise.
- You can lower fat content in this dish by using half and half instead of heavy white cream, along with lower fat cheeses.
- This dish is vegetarian friendly, low carb, gluten free, and sugar free.
- Daikon radishes stay a wee bit crunchy, so know that you’re not going to get a mooshy, smooshy potato. I like the texture, so if you don’t think of it as a potato (and slice it super thin), you’re going to be very happy.
- I have not run the numbers yet because I am a naughty naughty monkey, but it’s low carb and a little goes a long way thanks to the decadence of the dish.
- Want a little added color in your dish? Toss in some pepper jack. The colorful seeds/skins of the peppers lends pops of color throughout.
- Make sure your kids consider pants when driving. They have pockets.
Daikon au Gratin
1/2 large daikon radish sliced thin, about 4 cups
1 cup thin-sliced onions
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup heavy white cream
2 cups shredded cheese
2 Tbsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp dried chives
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
Soak sliced daikon radish in cold, salted water for 20 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Arrange all sliced daikon in an ungreased 9X12” casserole dish.
Over medium heat, in a medium-large saucepan, cook onion in butter until transparent, stirring occasionally (just a few minutes). Add parsley, chives, garlic powder and pepper and stir, just until bubbling. Add cream and stir occasionally until heated through (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and worked into the sauce.Pour the thickened liquid over the vegetable.
Bake, covered, for 45 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly. Sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10-20 minutes uncovered to crust up the cheese slightly.
Makes 8 servings.