They are not exactly a stop-in-your-tracks kind of produce item. They don’t have the “wow” factor of, say, a gorgeous heirloom tomato or an eye-catching head of purple cauliflower. But their pleasant crunchiness and uniquely spicy flavor make them a vegetable worth revisiting.
Radishes can do more than garnish a crudites platter. Their crunchy texture and zingy flavor make them a welcome addition to creamy, salty or sweet dishes. Plus, they become beautifully mellow, nutty and sweet when roasted.
How to choose radishes
Choose radishes that are firm and brightly colored. If possible, buy radishes that have the tops still attached. The tops should be fresh looking, like any other leafy green vegetable, without wilting or browning. Even though the tops are regularly discarded, they are completely edible and ultra nutritious. Toss them in with other greens to add a zip to your salad or saute them as you would spinach.
How to store radishes
When you get those lovely little radishes home from the farmers’ market or grocery store, chop off their tops right away. You’ll want to store them separately from the bulb or root of the radish. It is important to remove the tops since they suck out the moisture from the bulbs, which will hasten the drying and shriveling of your lovely red gems. Do not wash either the tops nor the bulbs until you are ready to use them and store them separately in the refrigerator in sealed plastic bags.
How to cook with radishes
Summer radishes are at their seasonal peak right now, when they tend to be sweet and tender. Later in the summer, they tend to develop more bitterness. So now is the time to enjoy this all-too-often overlooked vegetable.
Radish and arugula salad with avocado dressing
- 1 avocado
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 12 ounces fresh baby arugula
- 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
- To make the avocado dressing, combine the avocado, minced garlic clove, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper in a mini food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Toss the arugula and radishes with the dressing and serve.
Sweet braised radishes and radish greens
- 1 pound radishes with greens
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- If radishes are large (more than an inch in diameter), cut them in half. Leave small radishes whole.
- Melt the butter in a cast iron, or heavy bottomed, pan over medium-high heat. Add the radishes and cook, stirring occasionally, for about three minutes, or until just starting to brown. Add the stock and continue another three to five minutes, or just until the radishes are tender but still have a crunch.
- Wilt in the radish greens. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Radish and anchovy crostini
- 1 baguette, sliced on a bias into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 2 anchovy fillets, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced finely
- 1 bunch radishes, sliced thinly into 1/8-inch thick rounds
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Drizzle both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake until crispy and slightly golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
- Prepare the anchovy butter by combining the softened butter, anchovy paste or fillets, lemon juice and minced garlic in a small mixing. Mash with a fork until well combined.
- Toss the radish slices with the vegetable oil until each slice is lightly coated. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat and sear the radish slices about two minutes per side, or until they are lightly browned in spots.
- Assemble the crostini by speading the anchovy butter on the top of the toasted baguette slices and topping each with a few seared radish rounds.