|Fresh horseradish root|
I love horseradish in all its forms, and a few weeks ago I dug up the stupendously enormous and gnarled roots of a horseradish plant that's been hogging my small vegetable patch for years.
This great big brooding tangle of root was far too woody and leathery to use, but alongside it were several slim, crunchy parsnip-like offshoot roots that were perfectly ready to be preserved.
Last year, I followed the advice of fellow food bloggers and preserved my horseradish roots by grating them and pickling them in vinegar. But the results weren't great: the mixture was far too vinegary and acidic, and lacked the fresh zinging taste I like so much about horseradish.
So this is what I did with this year's crop: first, I washed them to remove all caked dirt. Then I timmed off the brown bits, and scrubbed them clean, in a sinkful of cold water, using an abrasive pot scourer to scour away the skin.
|Use a micro-plane to grate the fresh root|
Postscript: The roots retained their good flavour for six months in the freezer.
The other half I grated finely, using a microplane grater. I packed the gratings into a sterilised jar with a pinch of salt, and then filled the jar to its brim with olive oil. The jar steeped on a warm windowsill for three days, and then went into the fridge.
The result is a fragrant, zingy, nose-tingling oil that is just lovely in a salad dressing, or drizzled over rare roast beef, or dabbed alongside a piece of panfried tuna.
Please note that this oil should be kept in the fridge and used within 3-4 weeks. It should not be bottled and shelved, because the gratings are raw, and without any acidity in the form of vinegar, the mixture may ferment. If the oil solidifies in the fridge, place it on a sunny windowsill, or warm a few tablespoons over a gentle heat.