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Five ways to use horseradish, with chef Robin Gill

Add a fiery kick to everything from roasts to cocktails, says the chef patron of lauded London establishments Bermondsey Larder, Sorella and Darby’s.

By Robin Gill
photographs by Stockford Images
Published 28 May 2021, 08:00 BST, Updated 15 Jun 2021, 14:23 BST
As well as flavour, horseradish is said by some to have health benefits, thanks to the ...

As well as flavour, horseradish is said by some to have health benefits, thanks to the antioxidants it contains. Whether you buy into that or not, it can be used in a tea-like infusion to clear out your sinuses if you’re feeling under the weather.

Photograph by Stockford Images

Horseradish may look similar to a parsnip, but this root packs a real punch. Thought to originate in Eastern Europe, it works with an array of dishes, whether you’re grating it into a Ukrainian borscht or eating it with sushi in place of wasabi (something many Japanese restaurants do in the UK).

It requires peeling and, when blended or grated, releases a mustard-like oil, which is where the flavour lies. Blitzed, it’s great for jazzing up store cupboard ingredients; simply combine it with cider vinegar and a little salt, then add a spoonful of that mixture to some creme fraiche or yoghurt, and you’ve got yourself a horseradish cream. Be warned, though: you may want to equip yourself with gloves and goggles before tackling this fiery root — many a professional chef has been reduced to tears by it while preparing sauce for a Sunday roast.

I find horseradish is at its best when used fresh, so I like to give any dish containing it an extra kick by using a microplane grater over the top just before serving. The fresh stuff is also wonderful when paired with ingredients such as green apple, raw fish or meat. I’ve also used it to preserve salmon, by adding it along with salt, black peppercorns and grated beetroot; after two days of marinating, you’re left with an amazingly vibrant and punchy fish.

As well as flavour, horseradish is said by some to have health benefits, thanks to the antioxidants it contains. And whether you buy into that or not, it can be used in a tea-like infusion if you’re feeling under the weather — it would certainly clear out your sinuses.

Robin Gill is chef patron of Bermondsey Larder, Sorella and Darby’s.

1. Tartare

Use horseradish to spice up a tartare of your choice. I love it with beef, lamb, salmon or sea bass tartare, but for a veggie version, try using a combination of raw and cooked beetroot as a substitute for beef.

2. Bloody Mary

I use tinned horseradish for my version, blended the day before serving with tomato passata, Worcestershire sauce and a touch of red wine vinegar. To turn it into a clamato, add cooked clams and their juices.

3. Marinade

Grate the fresh root into a bowl of ground green peppercorns, caraway, fennel and coriander seeds, then roll a fillet of beef in the mix and chill for a day or two before eating raw or searing on a barbecue.

4. Mash

Add a generous spoonful (or three) of tinned horseradish cream to mashed potatoes. This combination works particularly well with wintry dishes such as slow-cooked ox cheeks in red wine.

5. Sauce

Horseradish sauce is an ideal accompaniment for a traditional Sunday roast. Using a food processor, I blend a 50:50 mix of raw beetroot and horseradish, then add a splash of red wine vinegar. It keeps in the fridge for a month.

Love food and travel? Taste the world at the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival, our immersive culinary event taking place on 16-17 July 2022 at London’s Business Design Centre. Find out more and book your tickets.

Published in Issue 11 (spring 2021) of National Geographic Traveller Food.

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