2 - 2009

Butter-Raised Radishes

Speaking of butter, as we were earlier this week — At last! I have found something to do with radishes.

Every week, our CSA box tends to include a nice, big bunch of radishes. Up until now, we have tried to add them to salad or find some other use for them, but I must confess, all too often they wind up wilted and forlorn in the back of the “crisper” (or in this case, “less crisp”) drawer, unloved and uneaten, and at last thrown wholesale into the compost bin.

I have flipped through my cookbooks, seeking recipes for the spicy little red-and-white buggers, to no avail. This is not for lack of cookbooks about vegetables — we have Italian and Japanese vegetarian cookbooks, most of the esteemed Moosewood repertoire, Alice Waters, Silver Palate, New Vegetarian Epicure, Lidia Bastianich and more. The Joy of Cooking let me down. The French Farmhouse Cookbook gave me the same suggestion I’ve seen elsewhere — to simply slice the radishes, and serve them on fresh baguettes with butter and salt.

“Nothing could be better,” it says. Well, pardonez moi, French people, but in my humble opinion many, many things could be better than raw radishes. Bourbon, chocolate cake, a great roast chicken, my current craze of pudding with a side of sea salt, truffle frites … need I go on?

Fortunately, what I suspect is a French-based recipe came to my rescue, from the in-this-case-aptly-named How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.

The recipe is basically reprinted here, except that that link changes Bittman’s original balsamic vinegar to white wine vinegar. I enjoy the sugar/bite combination of the balsamic, but then again I am not a vinegar lover. If you are, you might try the variation and see if you like it.

This recipe will absolutely stay in our rotation. In fact, it’s similar to a braised-carrot recipe from The French Culinary Institute’s Salute to Healthy Cooking that we serve up regularly. The FCI version is a little lighter, with the carrots essentially braised in water with a bit of butter and some sugar added, but it shows off the veggies’ natural sweetness and gives them a beautiful color.

In the photo at the top of this post, the radishes are braised with carrots and garnished with fresh parsley from our garden. Delicious — and a perfect way to not let some of summer’s bounty wilt.

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