Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Savoring the harvest: Radishes two ways

by June

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?


Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Your roasted Cherry Belle radishes sound wonderful. I'll have to try that next time we grow radishes. Now really...88 degrees...in Maine? It's about 65 here...and raining...and I'm in California! The weather is crazy this spring!

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

I loved radishes and never thought to roast them. Yum, I'm so gonna get out the cast iron and try it. It's going to hit 90 today! 90 in May! Crazy!

June said...

Clare: Oh, do roast them! It is a delightful treat. I can't believe you have 65 degrees while we have 88. The topsy-turviness is frightening.

Lisa: 90 in May? In beautiful Rhode Island? It's just wrong! Don't get out the cast iron until the heat settles, but then do, do, do. Roasted radishes were such a surprise to all of us. YUM!

spring said...

They look so good!!!

elizabeth ~ so wabi sabi said...

I love the idea of roasting radishes with their leaves. I make daikon radish macrobiotic style by cooking with a bit of water and other veggies like carrots, cabbage, etc. It always amazes me that the daikon get sweet when they are cooked...I suppose roasted radishes are a bit sweeter too.

June said...

Yes, roasted radishes ARE sweeter! It's amazing how they embody sweet-and-sourness.

Conny said...

Radishes are beautiful, especially when cut up into thin slices. I don't care for their taste, but my mother does ~ perhaps I should grow some for her. She doesn't grow vegetables anymore; she's switched over to fruit trees.

June said...

Conny: Definitely grow some for your mother (in exchange for fruit???), but please DO try some roasted. The taste is unlike any radish ever. I'm not a huge fan of raw (except with lots of butter and salt), but I can't stop thinking about the roasted version). Really. Love to you from Maine...

Libby said...

Oh my! Those look divine! Perhaps I can get my cherubs to eat radishes after all... Roasting radishes, who would have thunk it?

June said...

Libby: Guaranteed the kids will GOBBLE them. Best thing since crunchy kale!

Catherine said...

June, it is great to catch up with YOU!! I thought you had stop blogging! I love the idea of cooked radishes! And love, love, love the goat story!

June said...

Catherine: Still here. Life just overwhelmed blogging this winter. It's great to be in the swing of spring...

Cevat said...

I have never tried radish as roasted even I have not heard here, will try soon.

Thomas said...

These are mighty fine preparations for this humble veggie. I will definitely have to give these a go!

June said...

Cevat: Welcome! I hope you enjoy the roasted radishes.

Thomas: The radish has never been high on my list of favorites...except grated over agadashi dofu! But I do love these two ways. Here's hoping you do too...

6512 and growing said...

You guys eat well! I used to grow radishes for the satisfaction of quick harvest factor. Then, finally realized I don't much like them. But roasted? That might change everything!

Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tom | tall clover farm said...

June I went out and bought both radish seeds to give the recipes a try (in 35 days). Perhaps these will turn me into a radish fan. There's always hope.

June said...

6512: Roasting changes everything! At least it did for me.

Tom: Oh, I hope it works. But I guess you've nothing to lose but some seeds and 35 days. AND if you're still not converted, at least you'll have beautiful vegetables to use as bouquets on the table. Is there anything more beautiful that a bunch of radishes? Let me know, friend!

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