Lately we’ve seen a spate of recipes for roasting or braising radishes, which is great. It’s lovely to see this spicy root vegetable get some love as more than a salad topping.
But if you ask us, raw radishes are still the best way to go. Crisp, juicy, peppery, there’s nothing quite like them. And they’re the most perfect foil to anything rich and creamy. A plate of just-picked radishes, a smear of cultured butter and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt? That’s heaven — and the best reason to go to the farmers market in spring. That’s where you’ll find the freshest specimens in the most interesting varieties: long “French breakfast” radishes, colorful pink and purple Easter egg radishes, and those eye-popping, pink-inside watermelon radishes.
When you’re using radishes in something this elemental, quality is absolutely key. The vegetables must be super-fresh, not woody, and the butter must be cultured, so it has more flavor than those supermarket sticks. But butter’s not the end of the story. From triple-creme cheese like La Tur or Delice de Bourgogne, or mashed avocado smeared on rustic bread, almost anything luscious can get a spicy wake-up from a pairing with radishes.
Yesterday was “Take Your Child to Work Day,” so Wendi’s 11-year-old daughter accompanied her to the studio. We gave her an assignment: radishes on toast, with something creamy. She shopped for the ingredients, prepared them all herself, styled the photos and chose the shots.
Clearly, artistic skill runs in the family. She did a fabulous job, and radishes now have a new fan.