Cooking up Radishes

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Tomiko Peirano

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Hot pink, deep red or snowy white with a bright plume of greens on top, you're probably seeing some pretty gorgeous radishes at the farmers markets these days. 

Most everybody has enjoyed the mild peppery burn of a raw radish – sliced into a salad, quartered on the side of a taco or served with some fresh butter and coarse sea salt – but not everyone has ventured so far as to enjoy different ways of cooking radishes.

They should.

Cooked radishes take on a mellow sweetness, and radish greens are a delicious addition to pasta or a pan of sauteed greens.

Elspeth Hay, creator of the wonderful blog Diary of a Locavore, has some great cooking tips and recipes for enjoying radishes that she picked up at her local farmers market in Orleans, MA.

Try, for example, oven-roasting radishes:

This comes from Kristen Watkins, a farmer from Brewster. They grow French Breakfast radishes, and a few weeks ago, looking for inspiration, they decided to roast them in the oven, the way you would potatoes. They scrubbed them, then trimmed the greens so there were a few little stems still on, the way you sometimes see fancy restaurants do with small carrots. Then they sliced them in half, tossed them with olive oil and lemon juice and a little bit of salt and pepper, and roasted them on 400 degrees F for 10 or 15 minutes. Kristen says the roasting changed their texture—made them soft and juicy and a little bit crispy around the edges—and also made them sweet.

Or adding sauteed radish greens to your breakfast rotation:

Every farmer I talked with agreed you should save the greens. Like turnip greens, they're super healthy and also super tasty. Ron Backer likes his sautéed in olive oil with a little bit of spring garlic and asparagus—yum! I'd add an egg over easy and a slice of toast and sit down to breakfast.

Elpseth combined a few of her favorite suggestions and created a delicious dinner featuring rotini pasta, bacon, roasted radishes and the sauteed greens. 

I grabbed two bunches of radishes—one French Breakfast and one Easter Egg—and cut off the greens. I set the greens aside, then scrubbed the radishes and chopped them in half. I tossed the radishes in a roasting pan with a diced onion and a little bit of olive oil and some fresh rosemary, and put them in the oven on 400. Then I boiled a pot of whole-wheat rotini and cooked a few slices of bacon. When the bacon was done, I sautéed the radish greens in the grease with a little bit of minced garlic, and grated a handful of cheddar cheese. Finally, I threw the whole mess together—hot pasta, grated cheese, crumbled bacon, and garlic-spiced radish greens. By the time we'd gotten out forks and water glasses and plates, the roasted radishes were done too, and we sat down to a whole radish meal.

Delicious!

Click here to read the rest of Elspeth's tasty radish recommendations.

Elspeth Hay works with local food in a variety of mediums. She's the creator of the Local Food Report, a weekly piece on all things edible for WCAI, Cape Cod's NPR affiliate. She also writes a blog about eating locally—diaryofalocavore.com—and several newspaper and magazine columns.

Photo Credit: Elspeth Hay

Do you have a favorite radish recipe? Tell us in the comments!