Radish season is in full swing right now and the vegetable store near my house has a giant basket of them piled high. They are inexpensive to buy and easy to grow but they’re also a bit of an acquired taste. Their peppery bite is a bit unusual and sometimes radishes get overlooked because people don’t really know what to do with them. Typically they get sliced up into a salad but they are also delicious on their own with sea salt or pickled with herbs.
A few weeks ago I was at a pre-dinner reception and one of the appetizers that came around was a platter of buttered bread topped with radish slices and sea salt. At first I thought it was a bit odd but the flavour was delicious and made me re-think radishes. It’s actually a classic way to serve radishes and it’s so easy that anyone can pull it together in seconds. Simply slice some good white bread, top each piece with a healthy slather of butter (do NOT use margarine!), top with thinly sliced radishes and sprinkle with sea salt. Garnish with chopped choves and fresh ground pepper if desired.
Another way to enjoy radishes is to pickle them. Their sweet/sour/peppery bite makes them an excellent addition to sandwiches, salads or even eaten on their own. This only takes a few minutes to pull together and is a nice change from the usual cucumber based pickles.
Yields about 1-1/2 cups
- 8 large or 16 small radishes (about 2 cups when sliced)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped chives (plus extra for garnish, if desired)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (plus extra for garnish, if desired)
- Sea salt, to sprinkle over finished pickles
- Trim roots and greens from radishes. Using a sharp knife or mandolin, cut the radishes into thin slices about 1/8″ thick. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, add sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, thyme, chives and pepper. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat.
- Add radish slices and stir to ensure all slices are immersed in liquid. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, drain the liquid from the radishes, remove thyme sprigs and put into a bowl to cool further. Once cooled, sprinkle with sea salt and garnish with chopped chives and black pepper as desired. Use as you would regular pickles – on sandwiches, salads, etc. Radishes will keep covered in the fridge for a few days.
Bon Appétit and Enjoy!