How to Love a Radish
Can you remember something from childhood that you refused to eat and just clamor for now?
I need to learn how to love a radish.
I did not like radishes. I picked them out of salads and didn’t understand why they were there. One bite into the mustardy, peppery no purpose vegetable and my mouth would turn bitter. I didn’t get it.
I started to change my mind about radishes when shopping at the farmer’s market, because like everyone else, I’m attracted to beauty, and french radishes are pretty. I saw people crowding around oohing and ahhing the little bunches and thought “maybe I’m missing something.”
A little research explained to me that the horseradish and wasabi get their pungent pepperiness from the same chemical combination as does a radish, (for you food geeks, this is caused by glucosinolates and the enzyme myrosinase which form allyl isothiocyantes when chewed ).
A light bulb went on. No one sits around and chews on wasabi. It is served to offset other flavors and textures, to complement a dish, to bring to a bite just one element and I thought maybe if I just combine radishes with the right foods, I’ll come to appreciate this pretty little vegetable.
Give them to me roasted and I get excited. Give them to me in a salad of olive oil and champagne vinegar and I turn into a radish lover. Or slice them over buttered dark bread with salt and pepper and I’ll think I’m in France enjoying the simple yet wonderful bites of life. Recently, I just sliced some gorgeous french radishes, and ate them in a salad, and even decided to add some fresh zucchini that I picked from my garden.
Wait, you didn’t know you could roast radishes?
If you’re not too fond of the zing the radish delivers, then try roasting them. You can make it simple with a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt. I discovered roasting when I made this roasted radish foccaccia that won a small cooking contest.
No time for foccacia, try topping puff pastry with radishes, tiny bit of olive oil, and nori sea salt for a surprising appetizer.
Get fancy and make watermelon radishes sandwiches to serve with borscht. The key is a good bread with cold, thick butter, and a sprinkling of dill.
Tell me, do you eat radishes or do you shy away like I used to? What’s your favorite radish recipe?