In Making Food on June 13, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Week 17

I did eat a radish once before, a long time ago. I was little, maybe 8 or 9, and at some restaurant with my dad. The salad delivered unto me had a whole radish on it. I asked my dad what it was, and he said mysteriously/jovially, as dads will, “Go on, try it.” I asked if it was spicy. He said no. I ate it, then he laughed while I cried.

This is how I remember it, anyway. And I have to say, I think my version of events must be true because I’ve never had the temerity to eat a radish since.

But a couple of weeks ago we went to the farmers market, and there they were: an innocent-looking bunch of fuschia-and-white French Breakfast radishes. They looked like hot pink peonies or tulips transmogrified into vegetables. They were so pretty; how bad could they be? I bought the radishes, brought them home, put them in the crisper, and promptly forgot about them. (Sound familiar? Why yes, avid reader, these abandoned radishes were bedfellows with the rhubarb I discovered when making Olive Oil Cake a couple weeks ago.)

By the time I felt guilty and brave enough to use them, the greens were goners: all wilted and pathetic. Which is a pity, really, because the green tops-of-things that so often get chucked into the trash are sometimes the best/tastiest part of the plant. (Try sauteing beet greens sometime; you’ll thank me later.) I trimmed off the lifeless greens, kicking myself for having radish-procrastinated for so long, then trimmed the tops and bottoms of the radishes and split the larger ones in half.

I put a knob of butter into a small baking dish, then slid the dish into the oven while the oven preheated to 400. When the butter was melted, I threw in the radishes, along with some fresh thyme and a healthy dose of salt and pepper. I returned the pan to the oven and roasted the radishes until they looked awesome and shriveled and caramelized:

In your face, Dad: they were delicious and I didn’t cry at all. A little sweet, a little peppery; more interesting than roasted potatoes, less sweet than roasted onions. They’d be a great accompaniment to roasted chicken or salmon; they’re easy enough for every night, but elegant and unusual enough for a dinner party.

I recently read an article about serving raw radishes as an appetizer with really good butter and grey sea salt, and now I just might be brave enough to try it.

  1. Ooohh, fresh radishes with a shmear of fresh butter sprinkled with pink Himalayan sea salt is divine… grey salt, fleur de sel or other would be delish as well. DO IT!

  2. The radishes turned out great! Had some purple flowering kale and roasted cherry tomatoes, and served it with a Dungeness stuffed White King. Roasted all in the oven for 30 minutes, it was a robust and delicious, healthy meal.

    • Roasting makes everything better. Especially kale. And tomatoes. Incidentally, when you google White King, you get a bunch of bleach-related results. I did some more sleuthing, and am going to assume you roasted some crab-stuffed salmon, not a crab-stuffed bottle of chlorine.

  3. I tried fresh radishes with butter while in Portland. I…was not a fan. But your roasted radishes look delicious! I may try with the radishes that came with our first CSA produce box.

  4. those look seriously good. side note: my grandma used to it eat “radish sandwiches” as a child, which i gather are simply sliced radishes with some bread and butter.

  5. Maybe those things you photoed were radishes but certainly not like the radish I brought along and placed in your salad all those years ago! Back in those days, a radish was a radish and was good for only two things: color and teasing children. I did to you what my father did to me so I thought it was OK — a little bit mean but OK.

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