Sunday, June 12, 2011

Radishes, Simply


For a while, those six, sad looking radishes were the only vegetables left in my refrigerator. I would momentarily panic every time I opened the door, thinking I would starve. (My kitchen is actually very well-stocked. However, a good part of my staples are unsuited for midnight snacks -dried beans, and other bulk food items...) Nevertheless, those radishes were lifesavers. I had hesitated in buying them at first: the bunches were huge, and came in lots of two, which seemed a little much for just one. But they were so inexpensive (a dollar a bunch!!!), that I felt silly passing them up. They've kept me fed for close to two weeks!

I don't know what I've been up to lately... Well, I do, but I don't understand how it has taken over my life, and sucked out all the air in the atmosphere. The build-up to Grand Prix week-end in Montreal is an adrenalin-fuelled, mad dash to the finish line. I usually take it all in stride, but it was all a-jumble this year. Here we are, practically halfway through June, my tomato seedlings  still waiting their move to a permanent home, and nary a blog post lined up for publishing... Obviously, extenuating circumstances beyond my powers (namely, the uncooperative weather) have conspired to push me into a time warp. Work barely registered on my stress meter; the untended garden had the sirens blaring in my head. What little spare time I had was spent debating whether I should go to the market or attend to the vegetable plot. The garden won.


Thankfully, the garden returned the favour in full. Despite having had little time to plant much, the garden is brimming with edible volunteers. Combined with the radishes -roots and greens- I was kept well-fed. I finally conceded to marching to the grocery store after I finished the last of my pasta stash.


I am not really the kind of person who will eat the same thing day-in day-out, I tend to like a little variety, even with left-overs. But pasta with radishes just might be my new favourite dish. There is no need for a recipe per se. Just a brief sketch, and everything else is a free for all.

You will need a fat of some kind, whether olive oil, butter, or even bacon fat. To which you add a few slivers of garlic -at least two cloves per person- and sliced or julienned radishes. Season with salt and pepper. Add a couple handfuls of washed and roughly chopped greens. Any greens will do: radish tops; arugula, especially if it is too hot to eat raw; mustard greens; spinach; left-over cooked kale; swiss chard; or even lettuce. Stir about until wilted, then add cooked pasta. Any pasta will do, short or long, but it needs to be under-cooked (shave off two or three minutes from the recommended cooking time). Add a ladle or two of the pasta's cooking water, and let simmer until a sauce forms at the bottom of the pan. Serve immediately, with an optional grating of cheese.


One last thing about radishes: when buying bunches with tops, make sure you remove the leaves as soon as you get home. Wash them in several changes of water; spin them dry, removing any tired bits; and keep them in a damp cloth or a plastic bag. The roots will easily keep for up to a week once separated from their tops, but the greens should be eaten with three days.



Bon app'!



2 comments:

  1. I'm not a huge fan of radishes, but I do grow them for my husband. I love the radish greens though. They are so tasty!

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  2. Mimi, you have to try cooked radishes! It'll change you! Most non-fans of radishes actually warm up to cooked radishes because the flavour is milder, rounder, and all-around harmless. Just imagine those bits of daikon in miso soup.

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