Radishes. Ahhh, the spring radishes. What a delight! One of the first vegetables in the garden, seed-to-harvest in 30 days, this makes them great to interplant with any longer-season vegetables like squash. I did that, and by the end May had radishes,
I have so many radishes, that even Jessica is all radished out.
This, from an animal that literally did a backflip when I first gave her a bowl of the greens. So…time to get creative.
What does one do with so many radishes? First, don’t toss away those greens! If you are, you are missing out on a really SUPER food. Radish greens, like beet greens and turnip greens, are not only edible, but packed with vitamins and minerals. Actually, the greens have more Vitamin C than the roots. They have some kick to them and are more in the flavor category of arugula than beet greens. If you like that, use wherever you would use arugula, but if you don’t like that, use like cooked spinach or chard. Or try these:
Radish Top Soup
Sautee one cup chopped onion in 2 Tbsp butter, add 3-4 medium peeled, diced potatoes, cook for 5 minutes, add 3-4 cups chopped radish greens, cook 1 minute, add 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes (until potato is cooked). You can add seasonings that you want, I used minced garlic, red pepper, black pepper, and salt. I also added a can of white beans for more protein. Once cooked, puree with an immersion blender. If you want a thinner soup or don’t like the consistency of a bean soup, you can leave out the white beans, and add cream to taste after blending. Great when served with bread to dip.
This soup is surprisingly tasty. CFO balked at it when I made it, but then mistakenly put the left over cold soup on his salad the next day instead of the avocado dressing I made, and said it was a fantastic salad dressing before realizing his mistake. It was both my proudest moment as a home cook, and my weirdest.
Radish Top Pesto
Now we are talking! I love pesto. I mean, reeeaallllyy loove pesto. Its on the same level as Italian cured meats, olives and wine. The greatest hits. Pesto literally means ground or crushed, and, while traditionally refers to Genovese basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmagiano-Reggiano and olive oil, can really be made with anything. I like to swap up the vegetable (try parsley, cilantro, artichokes, anything green, anything purple!), nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios), and cheese (umm…just kidding don’t do this). I always have some form of pesto on hand in the freezer for those quick dinner nights. Pasta, pesto, boom. Its also a great way to preserve too much of a good thing.
For this pesto, I used 4 cups radish tops, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup mixed almonds and pistachio kernels, and grind in a food processor. While processing, slowly stream in extra virgin olive oil until the mixture becomes smooth. It should be thick, but still have some movement to it. Add salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, and briefly blend to mix. If the flavor is too bitter, you can add a splash of white wine vinegar or a pinch of sugar to mellow it out. Or more cheese. Can’t go wrong with more cheese. Top pasta, vegetables, pizza, spread on sandwiches, eat with a spoon. So good.
Now for those radishes. Raw radishes are divine, but you can also cook them. However, the absolute best way to eat radish roots, and this is proven by the French, is with butter and salt. I swear, you will no go back. But you might have to, because this way significantly increases your butter consumption. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Petit Radis au Beurre Sale (Breakfast Radishes with Salted Butter)
Soften some butter, dip radishes into butter, sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy! You will feel 85% more French after this experience.
For something more challenging:
I made these after a friend recommended them after I complained to her of not knowing what else to do with radishes. This recipe was simple enough: thinly slice about 2 cups of radishes and place in glass jar. I used a mandolin and nearly lost a finger, but I got very thin radishes. I recommend this method but strongly discourage texting and slicing. Mix 3/4 c white wine vinegar, 3/4 c water, 2 Tbsp salt, and 3 Tbsp honey, bring to a boil on the stove to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour over radishes. Loosely top, let cool about 1 hour, then place in fridge. Full pickling will take about 1 day, and these babies should always be stored in the fridge, and eaten within a week. No one wants botulism.
Keep in mind when you open the jar, it will be pungent. I think these taste phenomenal, but unfortunately, CFO does not. I did learn through this radish ordeal that he hates anything pickled that is not a cucumber. So, not only do I have a bucketful of fresh radishes to eat, I also have a pint of pickled radishes.
Tonight, I will be trying out some roasted radishes, which will go along with salad as we enter the Month of Lettuces.
Happy fresh eating!