The mere mention of radishes throws my mom into an elated pronouncement of her love for radish and butter on white bread sandwiches. She nearly drools at the thought of them. She claims this delicacy is Dutch, as she is. But a quick internet search reveals that the radish and butter sandwich permeates most of Europe and infiltrates as far east as Indian …. perhaps beyond. Strangely, I can’t remember her ever actually eating one of these delicacies in my presents. They seem to be relegated to a special place in her childhood past; too special or, in her mind, too old fashion to bring forward into the now.
I, on the other hand, don’t like radishes. Any food with horseradish style heat that burns in the back of the sinuses isn’t for me. Give me a jalapeño any day of the week but not horseradish or any thing similar. Being the daughter of the woman mentioned above, I am ashamed to admit that I have never tried a radish and butter sandwich. Some say the combination with the addition of salt lessens the bite of the radish. Many extol the radish sandwich’s deliciousness. But I’m not convinced … perhaps “one day”.
However, I do love to garden and in my excitement to get things rolling in the spring I can’t help but grow some radishes. In northern Michigan, this is one crop that can be put in early and harvested before anything else. Even if I don’t know what to do with them once they are out of the ground I can’t help but plant them each spring.
Still the radish intrigues me. I do love their color, shape, and even their smell. I love that they light up the garden so early like little harbingers of all good things to come and the promise of summer. My love of everything radish except their taste lead me to search for something I could do with them.
I roast just about everything. I even make “roasted” stir fries. Roasting brings out flavors in vegetables that no frying pan or pot of boiling water can. Radishes are not to unlike many other things that are great for the roasting pan so one day I googled, “can radishes be roasted?” and voila! … radishes CAN and WILL be roasted! … at least at my house.
Here’s what I like to do:
1. Oven on @ 400
2. Cut off tops and roots, then wash well.
3. Slice in half lengthwise as many radishes as you see fit or about 30 if you are serving 4.
4. Toss with just enough olive oil to lightly coat.
5. Dab with unsalted butter. About 1 tablespoon per 10 radishes. If you go over it’s OK, more butter is always a good thing.
6. Roast in a Dutch oven. See note #1.
7. Cook for 10 mins, stir, cook for another 10 or until desired tenderness.
8. Salt, pepper, and enjoy.
9. See note #2, #3, and #4.
Note #1: I have had the good fortune of inheriting a Micaceous clay pot purchased by my mom in Sante Fe New Mexico. (Click here for a great article on these pots.) It is absolutely one of the finest cooking pot I have ever used. It can be used on the stove top or oven, but I think it does its best work in the oven. Coming in a second but still holding its head high is a good old fashion cast iron Dutch oven. Finally, this recipe can be made by spreading the radishes out on a rimmed baking sheet.
Note #2: Some like to give the radishes a squirt of lemon and sprinkle chopped parsley (looks pretty). Or, radishes taste great roasted in oil olive oil and balsamic vinegar (equal portions).
Note #3: The bonus here is that when these darlings are cool and put in the fridge they can be kept for a couple of days. They are wonderful thrown in with a mixed salad. Best of all, no sinus burn just delicious yum. I make extras just for this purpose.
Note #4: Turns out I do like radishes.