Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Earth Day: Let's Celebrate the Radish with 3 Different Recipes

Sometimes the Farmer's Market can be dangerous for me and my wallet. I get seduced by the gorgeous fruits, vegetables and other things they have for sale and want to keep stuffing them into my bag. (After paying of course!) Like this perfect bunch of radishes. Aren't they gorgeous? So bright and red and spring-like!

And frankly, I don't even like radishes. I have always found them too sharp and bitter tasting. But one perfect little bundle ended up in my tote. I went through a stack of my healthy cookbooks to find a recipe that might make me like them more, and finally found one for Roasted Radishes in Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster. I had never thought about roasting radishes before, but it makes sense that it would "sweeten" and mellow them out. I decided to roast my little bunch, eat some, and add some to an Asparagus and White Bean Salad with Feta and Lemon Dressing, that I found in another cookbook in the stack, Farmer John's Cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables. This book has tons of seasonal produce recipes from Angelic Organics, a community sponsored farm. The salad looked like the perfect dish for my contribution to a last minute dinner party. In the same book was a recipe for Radish Greens with Miso Sauce and in honor of Earth Day, I thought it was a good idea to reduce my waste and use my entire bunch of radishes, greens and all!

Sara Foster says: "Radishes are almost always eaten raw as crudites or in a salad. But roasted, they're like a sweet young turnip. You can get radishes all year round at grocery stores, but they're especially good in the springtime, when you'll find them in all different sizes and colors at farmer's markets."

Roasted Radishes
Fresh Every Day, Sarah Foster
(Serves 4 to 6)

1 pound radishes, such as icicle, French or Easter egg-colored radishes, tops on (2 bunches)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp olive oil
Leaves from 3 or 4 fresh thyme sprigs (about 1 Tbsp), plus more for garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground  black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Trim the tops off the radishes, leaving about 1/2 inch of the green stem attached; reserve the radish greens for garnish. Rinse the radishes and the tops well.

Pit the radishes on a baking sheet with sides or an ovenproof skillet. Drizzle with the melted butter and olive oil, sprinkle with the thyme, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat evenly. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until the radishes are tender but still slightly crunchy (red radishes will turn pale pink in color, lighter radishes will become pale golden). Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with the radish greens and thyme leaves, and serve warm.

Notes/Results: Yum! Guess what? Roasted radishes are pretty darn good. So good in fact, I want to buy another bunch or two this week and make some more. I used olive oil and a bit of balsamic instead of butter and they were a great combination. Still crunchy but slightly sweet, they are great on their own, or in other dishes. Sara Foster recommends them in a salad with spiced pecans, and arugula, which I am going to try next. I will never look at a radish in the same way again!

Asparagus and White Bean Salad with Feta and Lemon Dressing
Farmer John's Cookbook, Farmer John Peterson and Angelic Organics
(Serves 4)

1 pound asparagus, cut on an angle in 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked or canned white beans, drained and rinsed (I used Garbanzo Beans)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
2 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions

Place the asparagus in a steamer basket, set over 1 1/2 inches boiling water, and cover. Steam until the spears are tender-firm, 4-7 minutes depending on thickness. Drain and place in an ice water bath (or under cold, running water) for a moment to stop the cooking.

Put the olive oil, lemon juice, fresh mint, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Drain asparagus.

Combine the beans, feta, radishes, and scallions in a large bowl. Add the asparagus pieces. Pour on the dressing and gently toss. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Notes/Results: This salad is delicious and perfect for spring. I went ahead and made a double recipe because I was taking it to share at a party. Because I didn't have white beans on hand, but had plenty of chickpeas, I used those instead. The recipe doesn't call for the radishes to be roasted but I think it made them so much better. The lemon and mint in the dressing compliments the asparagus and beans and makes the salad feel light. It was a big hit with everyone at dinner too.

About the radish greens, Farmer John's Cookbook says, "This recipe is a take on a classic from Japan that uses daikon radish greens." 

Radish (or Turnip) Greens with Miso Sauce
Farmer John's Cookbook, Farmer John Peterson and Angelic Organics
(Serves 2)

1 bunch radish (or turnip greens or both)
1 Tbsp miso paste
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 cups hot cooked rice

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the greens and boil for 1 minute. drain the greens in a colander and run cool water over them to stop the cooking. Let drain again, then gently squeeze out any excess water with your hands. Transfer the greens to a cutting board. Chop finely and set aside.

Put the miso paste in a small bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons water, then add a little more water so that the miso is thinned just enough to stir into other ingredients.

Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped greens; cook stirring, until they are tender and heated through. Add the thinned miso paste. Add sugar to taste; stir the ingredients until thoroughly combined. remove from heat; stir in the toasted sesame oil. Serve over rice.

Notes/Results: Good. The miso sauce gives a nice flavor to the greens and it tasted great over the brown rice I served it with for a nice healthy lunch. I topped it with a garnish of toasted sesame seeds for a little crunch factor. One note, I know my bunch of radishes was pretty small but I think you would need at least two bunches for two people. Maybe they were thinking about the turnip greens which are bigger, when they wrote this recipe. I really liked the sauce and plan on using it for my weekly huge bag of kale and greens from my CSA box too.

Project radish was a success! I liked all three of the dishes I made, they were all healthy and I found that with the right preparation, I can now add radishes to my "like" list. In keeping with Earth Day, all of the vegetables and the lemon, mint and thyme were all locally grown and I used my entire bunch of radishes too. A bonus, I can now also add two more cookbooks to my Cook From Every Book Initiative list--working through those stacks slowly but surely. I feel so virtuous now, I'm going to go eat some chocolate! ;-)

Happy Earth Day!


  1. Roasting the radishes is a neat idea - I'm a fence sitter when it comes to radishes, I won't buy them but I won't pick them out of things either...I'll have to try roasting them!`This is my first visit to your blog - I can't wait to see what else you've got dished up :)

  2. Happy Earth Day! I would have never thought to roast them, will try that the next time I see them in the market :)

  3. Give the earth my apologies, I had no idea it was celebrating today.
    What gorgeous looking radishes, such vibrant colour and fresh looking leaves.
    I have not roasted them before, but have seen Laura Calder do it. I am interested in giving it a try. Everything looks so healthy and fresh!

  4. I don't like radishes either but I have never encountered a roasted veggie that I didn't like, so maybe that is the key. All of these look so great...they are persuading me to give radishes another chance.

  5. The recipe for roasting radishes is really interesting. At this time of year I'm able to get the long, narrow French breakfast radishes. They are wonderful thinly sliced on buttered pumpernickel bread. One of our local green markets sells radishes the size of billiard balls. They would be perfect for roasting.

  6. Last year my CSA gave me tons of radishes. I also tried them roasted and loved it. I've bookmarked this to try that lovely salad.

  7. Agreed that roasting the radishes is smart. Brings out a bit the sweetness. Great idea. Using the greens is also nice. Sometimes we forgot that just about every part of those root style veggies is edible.

  8. These radishes are definitely gorgeous! Hubby is a huge radish fan...we love them roasted, as well. I usually toss them in with other root veggies when I roast them. I also love the greens...and this salad look sooooo good.

  9. These are all gorgeous! I have never really liked raw radishes but will definitely try roasting them. The salad with Feta dressing is especially calling my name!

  10. these all look delicious! I've been liking radishes a lot lately.


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