Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ravishing Radishes


I do find them oh so cute. As a button. Those radishes. They look especially fancy when they sport lovely red gowns, with their white petticoats peaking through. And those green plumes at the top! French Breakfast radishes are definitely adorable, but they can be a little difficult to find, even at the farmers' market. They don't taste any different from other radishes, but their seeds tend to be more expensive, so I think growers prefer the regular, round varieties. In any case, a radish is a good thing to have in the fridge.


Or in the garden: radishes take well to container growing, and are easy to grow, even for the brown thumbed. You should let them grow to almost ping-pong ball size, but I couldn't wait. The lure of the swelling roots was too strong, and I just had to pull up a few for my home-grown salad. Also, I belatedly realised that the window box that houses the salad bar only just provides enough green stuff for two, once a week. So regular harvesting of radishes is necessary to clear up space for new seedlings, if I want a regular supply of salads.

The great thing about growing your own radishes, or buying fresh from the market, is that the greens are plump and healthy, not dried out and wilted, or worse, rotting. The greens should be eaten as soon as possible, preferably cut off the roots as soon as they enter the kitchen. Washed and spun dry, they will keep for a few days in the fridge, whilst the roots can easily keep for a week. Of course, the whole point of growing your own is to eat freshly harvested...


I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: radishes, roots and all, can be eaten cooked or raw. The greens are lovely in a mixed salad, but some might find the a wee bit too prickly for eating raw, in which case the leaves can be cooked like spinach. The roots become really mild when cooked, so if you happen to have a particularly spicy bunch, cooking will tame those fires. But this early in the season, most radishes will be mild and perfect for salads anyway.

There is no need for a recipe: a salad is a work of art unique to each maker. Radish leaves, though hairy and somewhat prickly, are mild and tender, with faint hints to its affiliation with the mustard family. The roots are usually tame if the weather is cool and wet, but can kick up a fight, if the weather is scorching and dry (most varieties are now bred to be mild, but if you have a thing for hot radishes, being stingy with the watering will help). A simple, slightly sweet dressing, like this miso dressing, best compliments radish-laden salads, however a dollop of mustard adds just enough bite (the vinaigrette in this recipe is perfect), if that is what you want. The rest is up to you.



Bon app'!




No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails