Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Planting a garden allows you to have beautiful fresh produce right at your fingertips, but sometimes you end up with more than you know what to do with such as the ranks of radishes that recently tried to take over my little garden plot. After I stopped the vegetable bullying I found myself with more radishes than I could eat in a month's worth of salads. So I went looking for other ways to fix the ravishing radish.
I settled on four distinctly different preparations. I also found that the radish seems to be a love hate food and most people have a very strong opinion whether good or bad. For those that love the radish, embrace this experience and welcome the new ways to enjoy this delightful root veg. For those who are not fans of the rolly poly radish I challenge you to give it another go, you just might be surprised.
Let's start with the most basic way to eat a radish, raw in a salad. This is adapted from a recipe found at epicurious.com.
Radish, Olive and Orange Salad
Ingredients (serves 2-4 as a small side)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 bunch (about 8) radishes, trimmed and sliced thin
Some (about 12) oil-cured olives, pitted and chopped
Cut peel and white pith from 2 oranges with a sharp knife. Segment the oranges. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, honey, cinnamon, and cayenne until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Add orange slices, radishes, and olives and gently toss. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.
I served this as is but I think in the future it would be better served with a salad of arugula. In a pinch baby spinach or tender salad greens would also be great. Also I would use a tad more cayenne and less cinnamon but that is personal preference.
I had a good long think on how to cook a radish before I tripped across the idea of roasting them. Looking back it seems like a natural conclusion since I love roasted turnips and they're all in the same family, but it just never occurred to me before. I had a salad recipe that incorporated some great Mediterranean flavors and after tweaking it a bit I came up with this delightful twist on a radish salad that would compliment any number of Mediterranean main dishes.
Green Pea and Roasted Radish Salad
Ingredients (Serves 3-6)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp dill seeds
3 cups fresh shelled peas or 1 pound frozen peas
1 bunch radishes, trimmed, halved
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/4 tsp allspice
1 small bunch of fresh mint finely chopped or 1tsp dried mint
salt and pepper to taste
Place halved radishes in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and add cumin, dill, allspice, salt and pepper. Toss gently. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until tender. If using fresh peas, cook in pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold water, then drain well. If using frozen peas, defrost in cool running water and rinse well. You can cook them if you choose I do not.) Transfer to large bowl. Add radishes, feta, and mint; toss. Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve.
The freshness of the mint is a wonderful accompaniment to the peas and will help balance the earthy sweetness brought out by roasting the radishes. Now onto something completely different.
I had never considered braising a radish or any other vegetable for that matter but this recipe is a keeper. It's a recipe from Rachel ray and I made it as directed with the exception of using beef stock instead of chicken stock. The result was a delicious rich sauce and tender sweet radishes that would be perfect served in Yorkshire puddings alongside a juicy beef roast.
Sweet and Savory Braised Radishes
Ingredients (Serves 2-4)
2 bunches radishes, (about 1 pound) trimmed of tops and roots
1 1/2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits
2 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
Place radishes in a skillet with stock, butter bits, shallots, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Uncover the pan and reduce heat to medium. Cook radishes 10 to 15 minutes and if the stock has not cooked away, remove radishes (when tender) and cook until thickened.
This was such a delightful surprise and I could not get enough. At first I thought it would surely need more flavor but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was just perfect as is. This next dish I already knew would be wonderful before I tried it but I had no idea how easy it was to make.
If you've ever been to a Bulgogi house and ordered the Bulgogi, you have probably tried the variety of small side dishes that come with the meal. These range from exotic roots to kimchee and yes the humble radish. Usually made with a daikon, or white radish this Korean side dish is so simple yet eminently satisfying.
Sauteed Radish Side Dish (Serves 2-4 as a small side)
1 Bunch of radishes,
salt to taste
garlic to taste or about 1 tbsp. minced (2-3 cloves)
sesame oil (a drizzle)
vegetable oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan to keep the radishes from sticking)
Grate radish into thin strips. Heat up a pan and the vegetable oil then add the radish strips, salt and minced garlic, and sauté it for a few minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water and close the lid and lower the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add a few drops of sesame oil and mix it gently. Transfer it to a serving dish and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
I hope you have as much fun exploring the radish as I did and don't be afraid to put your own twist on this tasty treat from the garden!