Radish: the root to pepper your tongue
Petite spring radishes have edible greens and a subtle flavor. | Melissa Elsmo~for Sun-Times Media
Look to pair mild spring radishes with earthy, sour, and salty flavors to highlight their subtle flavor. Serve this simple seasonal salad as a first course or pair it with some grilled chicken for a healthy dinner. Try adding some pitted green olives or pistachios to this salad if desired.
2 medium chioggia or golden beets, trimmed
1 bunch small radishes, washed and dried
1 red grapefruit peeled and cut into sections
1 small bunch watercress
8 ounces fresh Chevre (Cypress Grove’s Purple Haze is a perfect choice in this salad)
salt and pepper
whole wheat baguette, sliced.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut two equal pieces of aluminum foil and place one beet on each square. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tightly wrap the beets, place on a sheet pan and roast until tender and easily pierced with a skewer (about 90 minutes). Peel the beets and slice into thin rounds and arrange on a serving platter or divide among individual salad plates. Halve, quarter the radishes as desired (sometimes I leave petite radishes whole) and sprinkle over the beets. Garnish with grapefruit segments, watercress, and crumbled chevre. Sprinkle salad with salt, drizzle with olive oil and serve with sliced whole wheat baguette. Makes 4 servings
Updated: July 22, 2012 7:51PM
Radishes were among the first solid foods my daughter fell in love with.
Sure, it was an unexpected favorite, but the bright pink orbs fit perfectly in her toddler-sized hands. She’d gnaw on the peppery root like an apple until her cheeks flushed red and she’d ask for a glass of water to cool her tongue. I brought home a lovely bunch of spring radishes last week and even now, a decade later, she squealed with delight and popped one into her mouth.
The unsung hero of supper club relish trays, radishes have a rather lackluster reputation and seem more then a little dated. Sure, they are easy to toss into a retro garden salad or throw a few into an egg salad straight out of the 1950s, but cooks these days rarely celebrate the humble red radish.
Inexpensive radishes have a long growing season, but subtle spring varieties are far superior to the mealy red roots harvested during the hot summer months. Ranging in color, size and shape, spring radishes deserve a second look and picking up a bunch now ensures you’ll enjoy their peppery pink personality at its seasonal peak.
Melissa Elsmo is an Oak Park mom, wife and chef/foodie. She speaks regularly about reclaiming the family dinner hour with nutritious meals. Check out her food blog at www.outofmelskitchen.blogspot.com.
To store & serve radishes:
Choose radishes with greens in tact. If the greens are wilted the radishes are sure to have an unpleasant texture. Look for bright healthy leaves when choosing a bunch.
Radish roots should not be soft or split. Look for bright blemish free flesh.
Remove leaves after purchase. Wash and dry the greens and store them in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. They are edible (raw or sautéed) and should be used within a couple of days.
Wash and dry the radishes and store them in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. Use them within one week.
Try pan roasting radishes in a little butter and lemon juice for a curious side dish or use raw radishes as a garnish for tacos, stir fries, or composed salads like my favorite salad that pairs peppery raw radish with beets, goat cheese and grapefruit.