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Relishing the radish in fresh recipes

French breakfast radishes, right, are different in shape and taste than more common radishes.


French breakfast radishes, right, are different in shape and taste than more common radishes.

The obsession began while watching bad-boy chef Anthony Bourdain swooning over an open-faced sandwich made with crusty bread, a smear of butter and sliced radishes.

This man is a hard-core meat-eater. He eats anything with a face, and usually his favorite parts are the face, liver, heart, feet. You get my point.

Anyway, I am watching him on No Reservations (10 p.m. Mondays, Travel Channel) and he's loving the simplicity of this sandwich. With a glass of wine, of course.

Within weeks I come across two radish recipes in different cooking magazines: a simple cucumber and radish salad and another for roasted radishes. I am intrigued, but can't get motivated by the sad little plastic packages of radishes at the grocery story.

Then I see them. Beautiful bundles of fresh-picked radishes at Worden Farm's stall at St. Petersburg's Saturday Morning Market. Two different kinds and both with their green tops, roots and a bit of dirt still attached. One is the very round, very red variety that I suspect was in that plastic bag at the grocery. Lots of heat in those radishes.

The other is a delicate pink, elongated version. I learn they are called French breakfast radishes. I buy each for $2 a bundle and take them home to experiment. I do this for three weeks straight.

I make the Cucumber Salad With Radish and Dill from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. A perfect accompaniment to grilled salmon, but it does not keep. Make it and eat it within a few hours. It looked old, sad and tired the next day.

I am skeptical of the roasted radish recipe from Saveur. Since the little crucifers are mostly water, I fear they will fall apart or just implode in a heap. But they don't and the roasting makes them soft and subtle. No heat left, just a bit of earthiness, almost like a beet but not as dense. (The recipe calls for an assortment of radishes, even purple ones. I stick to the two I can find.)

I come up with a radish spread that combines cream cheese and goat cheese with the radishes and other veggies I have in the fridge. This keeps for days and we spread it on crackers and bagels.

Then I try the sandwich, the one that Bourdain loved so much. The baguette slice, smear of butter, thinly sliced radishes and a sprinkle of coarse salt. I swoon, too.

Karen Pryslopski can be reached at


Cucumber Salad With Radish and Dill

1 English cucumber or 3 Kirby cucumbers, halved lengthwise, seeded, thinly sliced

4 large radishes (about 6 ounces), thinly sliced

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

6 ounces feta cheese, coarsely crumbled (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill, plus more sprigs, torn, for garnish

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 garlic clove, crushed with the flat side of a large knife

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

Put cucumber, radish and lemon zest in a medium bowl and add cheese.

Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, dill, sugar and garlic in another medium bowl, whisking until sugar has dissolved; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified.

Add vinaigrette to cucumber mixture; toss well. Garnish with dill. Discard garlic clove before serving. Refrigerate salad in an airtight container up to 1 hour.



Roasted Radishes

3 bunches assorted radishes (about 1 1/2 pounds)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 sprigs fresh thyme

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Trim radish greens. Wash radishes, pat dry and transfer to a large bowl with oil and thyme. Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.

Put radishes into a shallow baking dish and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and a small knife slides easily into radishes, 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 4.

Source: Saveur


Creamy Vegetable Spread

4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

4 ounces goat cheese at room temperature

1/4 cup grated carrot

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup chopped radishes

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Serve on bagels, toast or crackers.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Source: Karen Pryslopski, St. Petersburg Times

Relishing the radish in fresh recipes 03/02/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 3:30am]
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