I used to know radishes only as little red globes, usually sold in bags at the supermarket, sans greens. Over the last few years I’d noticed it seemed impossible to get spicy ones, so I’d pretty much given up on buying them all together. This, my friends, is yet another reason why you should never limit yourself to what the supermarket offers.
This year I dedicated myself to frequenting farmers markets. My schedule prevents me from attending most of them (since I usually work quite early and on weekend days) but I still was able to get out there almost every week. And on opening day, back in June, I finally got my hands on some French breakfast radishes.
The more I read food blogs, the more I hear about these radishes. I had been waiting since winter to get my hands on some. They are beautiful, for one thing: slender, oblong shape with a stunning red-to-white coloring. They have a more delicate flavor than other types, but still have a zesty kick of spice to them, and have a juicy, crisp texture. Back in June I served them raw: sliced lenghtwise, sprinkled with salt, and with a bit of farm-fresh butter. Simply delightful!
The Chicago Farmers Market season is winding down, but with only a couple weeks left, there’s still lots of goodies! And guess what? French breakfast radishes return at the end of the season! I bought a ton of them, and set out to make three recipes featuring what’s now one of my favorite veggies.
Here’s a simple recipe, similar to the raw presentation I mentioned above, but here the radishes are lightly sautéed in butter. This adds a lovely nuttiness to their lightly spicy-sweet flavor, and softens them a bit. I served them with thyme-garlic bread for a great appetizer or snack.
Sautéed Radishes with Thyme-Garlic Bread
Makes 4 servings
- 8 French breakfast radishes, scrubbed clean, greens removed (but save those greens for another recipe!)
- 2 Tablespoons (or more) unsalted butter
- 1/2 French baguette (about 8 oz of bread), sliced into 1″ thick slices
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced + 1/2 teaspoon salt OR 3/4 teaspoon garlic-salt
- 1 heaping Tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped OR 1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix olive oil, garlic, salt, and thyme in a small bowl until blended. Lightly brush both sides of each bread slice with the oil mixture. Loosely arrange slices together as if reconstructing the loaf of bread, then wrap in aluminum foil. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until nicely toasted.
2. Heat butter over low-medium heat in a large frying or sauté pan. Trim off any remaining stems from the tops of the radishes, as well as the white stringy root at the bottom. Slice each radish lengthwise.
3. When butter has melted, add the sliced radishes to the pan. Sauté until the radishes begin to soften slightly and color becomes less opaque, about 4 minutes. Flip the radishes and sauté for another few minutes, adding more butter if needed. When the radishes are warm and soft (yet still firm), sprinkle lightly with salt and remove from heat.
4. Serve radishes with thyme-garlic bread. If you like, drizzle any extra butter left in the pan over the radishes. Enjoy warm.
This simple recipe is a great way to let the natural colors and flavors of the radishes shine through, and makes a lovely afternoon snack or easy appetizer.
P.S. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!