What to do with Radishes?

Radishes are a constant temptation at the Market, and for good reason…just look at them. Though usually relegated to being sliced and tossed raw in salads, radishes shine in myriad preparations. The traditional French snack of sliced radishes with good butter and a sprinkling of salt on toasted baguette is definitely one of the quickest and most satisfying ways to eat the little globes. They also make great pickles. Slice a bunch or two in half and pour over them a brine of 1:2:8 (sugar, salt, and vinegar). Let them sit over night in the fridge and enjoy them the next day with some charcuterie or asian inspired dishes.

Radishes can also effectively play accompanying roles in certain dishes. Try chopping equal parts radish, scallion, and cucumber with a bit of fresh mint and stirring that into some fresh yogurt. It makes a great dip with some pita bread on a hot day. You can also add chopped radishes in egg/potato/chicken salad for some pungent crunch. Try slicing a bunch of radishes up (with any other vegetables you may have laying around) and presenting them on tray next to a warm Bagna Cauda sauce. The sauce is made by steeping warm olive oil and a touch of butter with sliced garlic and salt packed anchovies.

Surprising to some, radishes can also be cooked. The flavor changes from sharp and spicy to mellow, rich, and a little sweet, almost like a turnip. You can roast them in a hot oven (450ยบ) with some butter or oil and add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar and pinch of salt. Or if you’re feeling a little brave, try glazing radishes. Trim the radishes whole (but keep the greens!) and cut off the root. Melt a little butter in a pan, add some diced shallot, and sweat for a few minutes. Add your cleaned radishes (no more than can fit in a single layer) enough water (or chicken stock if you have on hand) to come almost halfway up the radishes, a dash of vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste and bring up to a boil and turn down to simmer. Simmer covered for about 8 minutes and then boil without a cover for another few minutes while swirling the pan to create a glaze and coat the radishes in it. These make an excellent side dish to roast pork or beef dishes.

When using radishes, DON’T THROW AWAY THE GREENS! The greens are edible and taste like a cross between peppery arugula and sorrel. They can be eaten raw in salads or sliced thin in coleslaws or pasta dishes. They can even be sauteed briefly and added to glazed or roasted radishes. If you have a lot of radish greens that are vibrant, substitute them for watercress in a watercress soup. You can even turn them into a pungent pesto! Blanch the greens and shock them in ice water. Blend them with a nutty firm cheese, a sweet and rich nut, a clove of garlic or two, zest of a lemon, and splash of oil. Season with salt and pepper and use as you would a traditional pesto!

Posted on by Mission Community Market in Blog, Recipes

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