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I saw so many local radishes at the farmer’s market this week! A happy season. But also happy for your health. Okay. In the food world, everyone is going crazy for something called “pre-biotics”. You know how yogurt and some pickles are ‘probiotic’, that is, they contain the good, friendly bacteria that help you digest food well? Well, pre-biotics are foods that help the friendly bacteria thrive inside of you. Some of the best ones? Asparagus. Artichokes. All the onions—leeks, onions, chives, all of them. All the cruciferous vegetables—broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and the like. One of the top probiotics also happens to be one of the first wonderful vegetables of the spring: Radishes. Radishes! Let us sing their praises. A little spicy, a little sweet, all kinds of crunchy, and a very wonderful thing to add to your snack-veggie platter of celery and carrots. But what else can you do with radishes? So much.
Crostini with Radishes
One of the big revelations many Americans come to after visiting France is: Wow, you can make a terrific sandwich out of nothing but butter, salt, and radishes. This is true. You can also make a terrific crostini with nothing but butter, salt, and radishes! Or ricotta, salt, and radishes. For either of those, just cut baguette slices on the bias, and toast, or use a substantial sliced bread like pumpernickel, spread with butter, and top with thinly sliced radishes. Pesto also makes a fantastic base, Real Simple has a good, and yes, simple recipe.
Gerard Craft’s Roasted Radishes with Greens
Radishes are typically sold in bunches with their greens, and most people can’t think why, and toss the greens right away. Not so fast! You can eat the greens in all kinds of ways, sauteed, in a smoothie, even as a salad. The best way I think is in Gerard Craft’s recipe of roasted radishes and radish greens, it’s one of those fantastic recipes that’s both very sophisticated and very easy; you’re doing little more than throwing everything in the oven with butter, olive oil, and lemon. Serve it next to a roast chicken or pork chops. Amazing.
Marcus Samuelsson’s Arugula Salad with Watermelon Radishes
I haven’t seen the big prestige watermelon radishes yet, the ones that are a rainbow inside, but I think they should be here any day, and until they show up you can use red radishes in Aquavit chef Marcus Samuelsson’s brilliant salad, which blends up an avocado, herbs, and lemon juice into the best dressing ever.
(P.S.: He says to use liquid stevia to sweeten it. I think that’s ridiculous. Taste the dressing when it’s one and add a pinch of sugar if it needs some.)
Egg salad tartines with radishes and watercress
My grandma used to finely mince radishes to add to egg salad, and it just made the best texture and flavor. Lots of egg salad recipes call for adding a mix of celery and radishes to egg salad, but to really get the right creamy-crunchy-spicy mix, I love this egg salad and fresh radish recipes. Add a bottle of rose and you have a beautiful fresh summer patio luncheon all taken care of.
David Lebovitz’ Pickled Radishes
If I could just pick one radish recipe for the rest of my life, it would be pickled radishes. David Lebovitz makes the best ones, not too sweet, not too anything. Serve them on a cheese board, put them in sandwiches, they’re great next to barbecue too. You can even use one in a Gibson instead of a pickled onion—that’s a good idea!