For most of my younger life, radishes remained one of the odd bits in my salad that I picked out. They became pals with that odd slice of pickled beet and those freakishly bright yellow, pickled-peppers that I would drop on the floor, hoping the dog would eat (I didn’t have a dog but hope springs eternal). Then one day — hauh, hauh, hauh — I went to the food markets in Paris where the radish is not a plastic bagged bit of red. No, no — there not only do you eat the delicious root, but the leaves as well. I came home obsessed.
Radishes are now out in abundance in local farmer’s markets. The green are very peppery, flavorful. Fantastic in salads, on sandwiches and make an amazing base for a super simple peasant soup.
The roots are a fast growing spring to early summer crop. They are a bit like a sponge so if the spring has been dry they tend to have a stronger flavor; if it has been wet, they can lack flavor. They soak up the salt quickly and that cuts the peppery flavor while leaving them crisp and fresh tasting. Let me put it this way, when my 10-year-old asks for radishes as a snack — they have to be pretty darn good.
Fresh Salt and Olive Oil Radishes:
- Fresh radishes
- Kosher Salt
- Olive oil
-Wash and clean the greens of the radishes and set aside. Cut off the string-like root at the bottom, the green top and then cut them in half.
-Drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and toss. Let them sit for 10 minutes and then they are ready to eat (the longer they sit the more water will be drawn out and collect in the bottom of the bowl).
- One bunch of radish greens cleaned and washed
- One chopped sweet onion
- 5 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 3 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
- Salt and pepper
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add the onion and garlic, stir and cook until soft. Add the radish greens and cook until they wilt a bit, then add four cups of water and potatoes. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Puree with an immersion blender.
Serve with some fresh ciabatta from the Montclair Bread Company and call it a day.
What are you buying and serving up from your local farmer’s markets?