Radishes are supposedly the lickety-split vegetable, the seed you poke into the ground when you want to impress a child with the whole cycle -- seed to seedling to munch-munch. But the child in me and the children around me too are impatient for even the hastiest radish. We tend to eat radishes tiny and bead-like, at least early in gardening season.
This spring we are enjoying them two ways.
Cherry Belle radishes
The first is roasted. One rainy day, we were preparing a meal that was almost entirely from our garden: overwintered-leek-and-should-be-seed-potato soup sprinkled with watercress. We needed a little nibble to hold us, and we just happened to have harvested a handful of the most beautiful Cherry Belle radishes. So we lit a fire under a cast-iron skillet and whirled some olive oil around until it got hot. We sizzled the radishes (leaves and all) in the hot oil, then popped the entire skillet into a 400-degree oven. We roasted them for about eight minutes, topped them with a squeeze of lemon, a pat of butter, and a grind of pepper, then sea salt.
Cherry Belle radishes roasted
They were small as gumballs and still chewy and zingy in the middle. But the leaves -- oh, the leaves! -- were snappy and crackly. They were gone lickety-split!
French Breakfast radishes
Our other favorite radish preparation is either a French breakfast or a Midwestern farmer's lunch. We could happily eat it every meal of the day. We use French Breakfast radishes (again, on the small side), and we slice them into translucent little rounds. We butter some of Birch's daily bread, layer on the radish slices, then sprinkle with a lot, a lot, a lot of Malden's flaky sea salt.
French Breakfast radish sandwich
It is a feast on a hot day (such as today when the thermometer has hit 88 degrees, which is not cool by me -- in Maine, in May?). The radishes and salt look icy, but their crispness has a spicy-sour verve that gets gentled down by the sweet butter.
Who wouldn't be impatient for the radishes to grow when the eating is so delicious?