MAKES: About 2 cups

TIME: 30 minutes

Radishes are hardly a classic salsa ingredient, but the technique mixing a vegetable (or fruit) with onion, an acid, chiles, and fresh herbs is downright traditional, and that’s the important part. Serve this colorful salsa with any tamale or quesadilla, Red or simply a big bowl of tortilla chips.

2 cups (about 1 pound) chopped radish, like daikon or red or a combination

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced

1/2 small red onion, minced

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh chile (like jalapeo or Thai), or to taste, or hot red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly.

Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more chile, lemon, or salt as needed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to a day.

Variations

Cucumber Salsa, Thai Style. A common and flavorful garnish: Replace the radishes with additional diced cucumber and carrot (about 1 medium each), red onion with shallots, and lemon with lime juice. Add a tablespoon of rice vinegar. Omit the garlic.

Green Papaya Salsa, Thai Style. Sort of a mini papaya salad: Substitute peeled, seeded, and shredded green papaya for the radishes, use lime instead of lemon juice, and replace the scallion and red onion with a thinly sliced shallot. Add a tablespoon or so of rice vinegar.

Sea Green Salsa. Practically work-free: Replace the radishes with 1 cup arame, hijiki, or wakame. You’ll need to soak the sea greens in warm water to cover for about 10 minutes, then drain well. Add 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger and about 2 tablespoons rice vinegar.