Horsing Around With Horseradish


Did anyone else overstock horseradish for Passover? I was looking at two jars of it for more than a month and was determined to use them effectively and deliciously.

This is not a chore — I love horseradish. But it is a rather distinct taste and not one that you are likely to use in multiple dishes at the same meal the way you might onions, garlic, chilies, parsley, salt or pepper. So I spread it out over several meals, and pretty soon I was not only out of it, but needed to buy more.

First, some background: Horseradish is thought to be indigenous to Eastern Europe, which explains why it is a common ingredient in many Jewish dishes. Considered medicinal in the Middle Ages, today’s herbalists continue to recommend it for urinary tract infections, kidney stones, sinus conditions, fluid retention, coughs, bronchitis, joint pain, gallbladder illness, sciatica, gout, colic and intestinal worms. Some practitioners even suggest applying horseradish directly to the skin to ease painful joints and muscles.

The word “horseradish” dates to the late 1500s in England; “horse” was used figuratively to convey strength, and “radish” was used because its texture and taste were reminiscent of radishes.

Horseradish is a great way to add some zing and zest to dishes for people who dislike the spiciness of chilies but still seek robust flavors.

Horseradish-Crusted Cod

Horseradish-crusted cod | Lilechka75

Serves four

Various iterations of this dish appeared frequently on menus about five years ago — it was a trendy item, but seems to have fallen off the cutting edge for chefs. No matter; home cooks can create this simple, tasty version, and your guests will feel like they are in a five-star establishment. If you can’t find cod, scrod, haddock, fluke, grouper or any firm, mild white fish are fine substitutes.

This is great with oven-roasted potatoes and a simple salad or steamed green veggies.

  • 4 cod fillets, approximately 6 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained and divided
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. In a baking dish just large enough to hold the fillets without crowding, drizzle oil on the bottom of the pan and tilt it to coat.

In a small bowl, mix the panko, zest and a tablespoon of horseradish.

In another bowl, mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice and remaining horseradish.

Dry the fish with a paper towel, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and place it in a baking dish. Spread each fillet with the mayonnaise mixture.

Spoon equal parts of the bread crumb mixture onto each fillet, lightly pressing it into the mayonnaise mixture so it sticks.

Bake for 20 minutes until the panko is brown and crisp and the fish is cooked through. It will flake easily and be opaque at the center rather than translucent.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

Horseradish mashed potatoes | vikif/Thinkstock

Serves four

I am a huge mashed potato fan. Adding horseradish to this homey classic elevates it to something even more sublime. As stated before, dishes like this that feature horseradish are best accompanied by relatively simple flavors so that the foods don’t compete with each other.

  • 2 pounds potatoes, rinsed and cut in chunks (peel if desired; I do not.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1¾ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with water. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes until the potatoes are very soft.

Drain the potatoes and add the remaining ingredients. Mash until smooth.

Check for seasoning (it may need more salt and pepper) and serve.

Veggie Horseradish Sandwich

I tossed this together one afternoon while foraging for something delicious, healthy and did not require a trip to the store for lunch. It checked all three boxes. It so happened that I had beets, carrots and avocado on hand, but any combo of veggies would be fine — baby greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, radishes, broccoli, sprouts, etc.

One note: The avocado on my sandwich sort of acted like another condiment.

If you omit that, you may want to add some more hummus and horseradish to keep the sandwich together and well flavored.

  • 2 slices crusty bread or a 6-inch slice of baguette
  • 2-3 tablespoons hummus
  • 1-2 teaspoons (or more) prepared horseradish
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • ½ beet, sliced

Spread the bread with hummus and horseradish.

Place the vegetables on the spread, pressing lightly so the sandwich holds together.

Serve immediately.

Horseradish and grated horseradish | SergeyChayko/Thinkstock

Some other favorite ways to use horseradish:

  • Spread it on sandwiches in lieu of mayonnaise or mustard.
  • Add a generous dollop to tuna salad or chicken salad.
  • Schmear it on a bagel with cream cheese and lox.
  • Whiz it into vinaigrette or honey mustard salad dressing.
  • Mix it with mayo, chopped chives and parsley and serve it as an accompaniment to roast beef.
  • Mix 1 part horseradish with 2 parts oil and spread it under the skin of a chicken, then roast as desired.
  • Mix it with hummus for a zesty tweak on the classic.
  • Mix 1 part horseradish with 2 parts softened butter and use it to finish roasted or steamed vegetables or fish.


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