What to do with those Radishes …

edamame and radish salad

On Wednesday we welcomed spring, the arrival of a new season’s CSA, and the first of many many many many many radishes. Can you sense my enthusiasm?

Look, I love radishes — honest, I do — and I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I do have mixed feelings about the quantity I consume as a CSA subscriber. I’ve mentioned this before, so I won’t dwell, but I just find it challenging to work radishes into meals in substantial ways, in ways that make me feel I am getting more than just a yummy snack. Yes, I love eating radishes on buttered bread or simply halved and dipped in salt. Served with some canned fish and a few cheeses, I can call these preparations dinner and feel the radishes have played a significant role in the meal.

But wouldn’t it be nice if radishes could pull a little more weight at the dinner hour? As I was unloading my CSA last week, I remembered a salad — an edamame and radish salad — we used to make at Fork for Fork:etc, (the prepared food, sandwich, salad, on-the-go part of the restaurant). During the lunch hour, this salad flew out of the case. High in protein, light, colorful, satisfying — what’s not to love?

Now, back then, edamame comprised the bulk of the salad while the slivered radishes and diced red onion mostly offered a little bite and color. In this variation, the radishes and edamame are in nearly equal proportion by volume, but the increased proportion of radish doesn’t dominate in any way — the salad is just as if not more so delicious. And the dressing is simple: equal parts olive oil and vinegar and a good sprinkling of salt — both the radishes and the edamame can handle it. It’s a cinch to throw together.

When fresh peas and favas start arriving at the market, you can keep that edamame in the freezer. But this time of year, as a supplement and complement to radishes, edamame are hard to beat.

Happy spring everyone. Any ideas regarding radish employment are most welcome.

A few things to remember when dealing with radishes:

1. If you trim the greens from the stem right away, the radishes will keep longer.

2. Try to eat the radishes within a few days of receiving them — they shrivel up in the fridge quickly. A few ideas: this salad (edamame can be replaced with peas or favas when they start appearing); sliced in half and served with nice salt; thinly sliced and served with good bread, butter and salt; thinly sliced and served with good bread, butter, salt, and anchovies; halved, tossed with olive oil, seasoned with salt, and roasted at 450ºF until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. If you have to store radishes in the fridge for a few days, use an airtight container or ziplock bag for both the greens and the bulbs themselves.

4. Sauté the greens (see recipe below) on their own or save them and sauté them with other greens you might have on hand — beet greens, chard, watercress, etc.

radishes

This simple salad is made with sliced radishes, freezer-burnt edamame and red onion:
radishes, edamame & onion

Snip the greens to preserve both the radish bulbs and greens longer:
snipped greens

If you leave the stem intact, you have a nice little handle to grab onto while you run your radishes down the plane of the mandoline:
sliced radish tops

sliced radishes, blanched edamame, macerated onions

slivered radishes

slivered radishes and edamame

radishes and edamame with dressing

Now for the greens: First, be sure to soak them in cold water for a few minutes so that the dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl.
soakingradishgreens

Then let them drain — no need to spin them dry if they are going to be sautéed:
radish greens drained

Toast some bread crumbs if you feel like sprucing up your sautéed greens:
bread crumbs

Remove crumbs and set aside; wipe out the pan and place it over high heat; when it’s nice and hot, add some olive oil and immediately following, the greens; season with a pinch of salt; toss with tongs and remove from heat — radish greens wilt and shrink very quickly; add a splash of vinegar and toss; stir in bread crumbs if you wish and serve immediately:
sautéed radish greens and breadcrumbs

radish greens and toasted bread crumbs

Of course, you can always just stick to this classic preparation:
radishes, buter, salt

It’s seriously so good.
radishes with salt on buttered bread

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can ease up on the salt and top your tartines with a few anchovies — I read about this preparation in Chez Panisse Vegetables and couldn’t resist trying:
topped with anchovies

Edamame and Radish Salad
Serves 2 to 3

1 cup frozen edamame
1 small red onion or shallot (about 1/4 cup minced)
2 tablespoons vinegar — I like white balsamic
kosher salt
pinch sugar
8 to 10 radishes, rinsed, tail trimmed, stem left intact
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Place a pot of water on to boil. When it boils, add the edamame and cook for about 2 minutes — most bags call for a 5-minute blanching, but I think shorter is better. Drain and run under cold water. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, finely dice your onion or shallot — you can use as much or as little as you like (sometimes I add more like a half cup) — and place in a small bowl with the vinegar a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar (no more than 1/8 teaspoon). Set aside to macerate for about 15 minutes.

3. If you have a mandoline, carefully slice up each radish. As noted above, if you keep the stem in tact, you have a little handle to grab onto while you run the radishes down the mandoline’s plane. Alternatively, thinly slice the radishes with a knife. Stack the circles on top of each other and slice straight down to get mini matchsticks.

4. Just before serving, toss the edamame with the radishes and onions. Add two tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat. Taste. Don’t be afraid to go a little heavy on the salt — both the edamame and the radishes can handle it. Note: If you are preparing this for a luncheon or some event, tossing at the last minute helps preserve the color of the edamame as well as the integrity of the radishes — after too much time in the dressing, the radishes wilt and the edamame gets a little pale. It still tastes great, but it might not look as appetizing.

Sautéed Greens with Bread Crumbs

Note: Use this recipe as a guide. The quantity of bread crumbs, olive oil, and seasonings will vary depending on the quantity of greens and what type of greens you are using.

homemade bread crumbs

for a more in depth recipe, click on the link above, otherwise follow this simple guide:

Heat about 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; sprinkle in about a cup of bread crumbs; season with a pinch of salt; stir until golden; remove from heat until ready to use.

olive oil
greens (chard, watercress, radish, beet, mustard, kale, etc), any thick stems removed
kosher salt
minced garlic (optional — I don’t use it for radish greens)
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
splash of vinegar

1. Place greens in a large bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for a few minutes so that the dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl. Place in a colander to drain. Shake gently to remove excess water, but there is no need to spin them dry.

2. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Drizzle in some olive oil — again, quantity will vary depending on quantity of greens. When it starts skidding, add the greens. Season with a pinch of salt. Add minced garlic if you are using and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes if you are using.

3. Using tongs, begin flipping greens around so they wilt evenly. This should happen very quickly if you are using tender greens such as radish, watercress, spinach, etc. Add a splash of vinegar and remove from the heat.

4. Sprinkle in bread crumbs to taste, toss, and serve immediately.

Incidentally, I recently purchased this salt cellar from Crate and Barrel for $9.95 and couldn’t be happier with it. I have been using it for my Maldon sea salt. I think a box of sea salt paired with this salt cellar would make a lovely gift:
new salt cellar for sea salt

Señor Pescado is delighted to have some company:
mr. fish welcomes his new pal

22 Comments

  1. I love edamame and eat it all the time. Just simply prepared and as-is. When I was part of CSA I got so.many.radishes it was insane. I live in San Diego and find I do better just going to the markets and picking out what I want rather than a CSA b/c of things like…radish mania. :) You clearly made the most of them! They’re very trendy right now too. Was just reading about them in Bon Appetit!

    Reply
    • Averie — I know, the endless radishes and kohlrabi… oiy! I lived in San Clemente for about 3 years and stopped my CSA bc I so enjoyed going to the Sunday farmers’ market. It was such a great market, and I could pick whatever I wanted…heaven! I will have to check out the Bon Appetit. Was it the latest issue? I am subscribing at the moment but there’s a good chance that I haven’t looked at the latest issue.

      Reply
    • Explody Full — Yes! I have been meaning to make the site responsive for like 2 years. There are still things that are annoying me, but hopefully I fix them soon. And yes, radishes + anchovies = delish!

      Reply
  2. Mmmm radishes are my favorite thing in this world. But I agree.. they are a “snack” for the most part. I have been finding ways to add them to meals, I did a radish/potato salad recently (on blog) & I mixed in some slices with some glass noodles. I liiiike the sauteeing of the radish greens.. I always get lazy about the greens parts and throw them, but I need to start being smarter about it!

    Reply
    • Jaimie — I saw that radish-potato salad on your blog! It looked heavenly. We get out fair share of potatoes as well in our CSA, so I’ll definitely be trying that combo at some point this summer.

      Reply
  3. I know what you mean. I am not a huge fan of radishes, but in small quantities they’re just fine. My husband, on the other hand, loves them. He eats them plain, by themselves but always throws away the greens. Glad to see a recipe for them, for a change.

    Reply
  4. Radishes = Lovely memories
    My Grandmother and I would eat just-picked-from-the-garden radishes with buttered bread and wash it down with ice coffee. This is one of my favorite memories.

    Reply
  5. Your new theme here on the site looks so good! Very professional, clean, yet still looks like you. I love that salt cellar, too! I do believe I have some freezer-burned edamame, and I just bought radishes — thanks for all the amazing storage tips! You made this salad look so beautiful and sound really delicious. Dinner!

    [I'm posting a salad on my site this week, sprinkled with your mustard croutons... golly those were good!]

    Reply
    • Thank you, Sophie! So glad you approve. And I hope you like the radish salad…it’s all about the freezer-burnt edamame :) And I am so happy to hear you liked those mustard croutons. Can’t wait to read about it on your site!

      Reply
  6. Hey, remember me? :) I still think of you! Anyway, I had a housewarming open-house for my new apartment in Rochester — although I’ve been here 1.5 years, this is my first apartment of my own here — and bought radishes (sadly not in season, so not from a farmers’ market but happily from Wegmans!) for crudite, and now have a couple bunches to use up, so imagine my surprise as I’m combing through my recipe-sites, to see your entry ‘what to do with those radishes’ !!

    Anyway, when I was living at the Zen Center, one of the ladies there was obsessed with Ottolenghi, and he has a salad like this in his veggie cookbook Plenty, that we made. It’s similar but more elaborate, of course — it also has quinoa, avocado, lemon vinaigrette, etc. I liked it a lot!

    Reply
    • Joanna! Of course I remember you!! I think of you often and loved the time we spent together in Philly. So funny that you mention Wegmans, which is my store of choice here! I love it. Of course I wish I had a farmers market to supplement my CSA, but Wegmans makes me happy too. Aren’t their headquarters in Rochester? Anyway, that Ottolenghi salad sounds delicious! I’m going to try to find the recipe online. I am in the process of writing a quinoa post for FairTrade but I haven’t come up with anything that inspiring yet. This one sounds perfect for spring.

      So great to hear from you. Wish we could meet up for a drink. Xoxo

      Reply

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