in the kitchen with: penny de los santos

I was thrilled beyond words when National Geographic photographer extraordinaire Penny De Los Santos agreed to do a recipe with us. Many of you will remember Penny’s fabulous home which was featured in a sneak peek. This week, she brings us an spicy heirloom radish salad, sure to please. I openly admit that I had never even heard of half of the ingredients and was very curious to learn! Try the recipe and let us know how you like it! If you can’t find all of the ingredients but make substitutions, share those with us as well- Have a great weekend! -Kristina

CLICK HERE for the full Spicy Heirloom Radish Salad after the jump!

About Penny: Penny De Los Santos is an award-winning documentary photographer know for her sensitive and evocative photo essays. Her Clients range from Saveur Magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine and Martha Stewart. She has been the recipient of several photographic grants including The National Geographic Grant for Photography, the Marty Forsher Fellowship from the Parson’s School of Design, Eastman Kodak Grant and Canon USA Photography grant. In the past 3 years she has been on assignment in over 16 countries for Saveur Magazine telling stories about food and the culture and community that surround it.

Why Penny chose this recipe: I love radishes. They are one of my favorite vegetables. Their smooth texture juxtaposed with that crispy snap after being bitten into, and then their wonderful spiciness that follows is so unpredictable. They usually play a tertiary role in many salads. But for me, I just eat them as they are. I’ll just grab a handful and munch on them as a snack. They are always a must buy whenever I see them at the market.

I’m always excited when I find new ways to use them. Recently at a weekend food gathering in South Texas my friend Rachel Lomas made this incredible radish salad. It was a collection of radish varitals that had this wonderful chile infused oil and Piave dressing. It was heavenly, the combination of the fresh, crisp radishes and the creamy sharp flavor of the piave mixed with the chile infused oil was awakening. The flavor combinations are intense and leave your mouth watering. Even just writing about this now brings back the intensity of this salad which, to be honest, will steal the show at any home meal.

Spicy Heirloom Radish Salad

radishes, any and all varieties available (in photograph: French Breakfast radishes (cylinder looking radish), Plum Purple radishes, White icicle radish (carrot shaped))
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves of garlic total (1 clove for dressing used with the mortar and pestle and 4 cloves sliced for infusing the chile oil)
1 tablespoon red flake chile pepper
2 lemons
2 tablespoons tangerine juice
drizzle of 2 extra tablespoons of high quality olive oil
1/2 cup of grated piave
1/4 crumbled piave on top
3 bunches of assorted radishes
1/2 cup basil rough chopped

Infuse olive oil with chili flakes

-Method: olive oil in pan med-low heat, allow oil to get hot add chili flakes, cook 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, sieve oil and let cool.
-Note: More chili flakes can be added depending on how spicy you want the salad.

For vinaigrette:

In mortar & pestle add garlic, salt. beat to paste using just prepared chili oil add to pestle and mix add additional olive oil (1-2 tablespoons), tangerine juice, lemon juice and pepper…whisk till perfectly emulsified (taste and adjust oil, tangerine juice)

Salad preparation:

-wash and rough cut radishes
-add cheese (for texture cheese should be added with 3 different cuts, grated, crumbled and chunks)
-add prepared vinaigrette
-garnish with fresh cut basil


gorgeous! love and respect Penny’s works so very much. we don”t see so many kinds of radish where i am, not to mention piave cheese – but i would still love to try it with whatever radishes i find and maybe parmigiano or maybe pecorino. thanks for sharing!


The timing of this recipe couldn’t be better. I am harvesting my crop of radishes this weekend and didn’t know what to do with them all. Thank you!


I am new to the radish world (as in, my childhood pickiness just now allowed me to taste these delicious things). Sooooo excited to try this recipe!


Wow, these are some of the best food photos I’ve ever seen! It almost looks more real than when you have it in your kitchen!

Brooke @ Food Woolf

I love radishes. I even thought I had tried out just about every radish recipe there was…and then Penny (one of my favorite photographers) created this great dish! How very wonderful. Can’t wait to try this spicy rendition.


What stunning photography! Totally inspiring. The colours of those radishes are just beautiful.

emma. our kitchen

Wow! What beautiful colours! My Dad loves radishes so I will have to make him this salad when he is next round for dinner. Thanks Penny!


I have had this radish dish and it is unbelievable. It has changed the way I look at radishes.


Holy cow, I cannot wait to make this salad. I love radishes and just got a whole bunch-y variety in our CSA share this weekend. Thank you thank you!


this is a seriously delicious sounding and inspiring salad–especially for a chili-lover like me. thank you!

AZ man

I am not a big fan of radishes, but salad was unusually delicious. A great blend of flavors. I cannot wait to have it again.


A recommendation from Farmhouse Delivery in Austin led us to this recipe.
I served it at a dinner party – not only was it beautiful, but an unexpected treat to the palate! Thank you for sharing.