We always go a little bit overboard when planting radishes in the Beekman Heirloom Vegetable Garden. Since they come to maturity so quickly, we tend to indulge in our urge for nearly-instant-gratification.
But unlike other vegetables, there aren’t a lot of recipes devoted to their unique sharp taste. They don’t cook into much of anything but mush and lose almost all of their flavor in the process. Perhaps most people, like us, simply enjoy eating them raw – straight from the garden.
The french may be one of the few cultures who celebrate the radish…then again, is their a foodstuff they don’t celebrate? The traditional french spring use for radishes is to slice them thinly, and layer on a sliced baguette slathered with butter and salt.
Butter is actually a perfect compliment to radishes. It smooths out its bite while the salt accentuates both the flavor of the radish and the butter. In fact, the combination has become one of our own spring favorites. Here’s how we present our spring radishes as hors d’oeuvres for spring evening drinks on the porch.
We begin with French Breakfast Radishes, since their elongated shape make them easier to grab with one’s fingers than the globe shape of other varieties.
Next we trim the root and leaves, and slice a small wedge, lengthwise, down the radish.
Then we fill the wedge with a knife full of butter. It’s imperative to use high quality butter, preferably European or from a local dairy. Most mass-produced butters have little-to-no taste, which can be okay for certain cooking uses, but not when it’s used as a dominant ingredient.
Finally, add a sprinkle of coarse sea salt on top of the butter, then serve slightly chilled. It might not be fancy, but when you’ve waited six months for garden fresh flavor, the last thing you want to do is disguise it.