Radish season has arrived! Taking only a month from seed to harvest they are a rewarding early crop and can be reseeded and enjoyed throughout the summer. Farmer's markets in London have been boasting radishes of increasing size as the weeks go by and now that the season is in full swing, it's time to eat these magnificent vegetables!
You might have heard that radishes are quite nutritious vegetables. Related to broccoli and cabbage and all other cruciferous vegetables, it is indeed a nutritional powerhouse with ample amounts of Vitamin C, Potassium and Magnesium. Now I can imagine that some people are wincing at the thought of eating radishes and I must say that I used to feel the same way! That is, until I tasted my first whole roasted radish.
The technique and recipe was featured in Saveur Magazine and was so intriguing that it had to be tried!
So first of all, get the freshest radishes you can find. They will be firm and have leaves that have not wilted. This is a good thing because you can eat the ENTIRE plant - the leaves are edible! Sure they are rough to the touch, but plunge them into some boiling salted water with perhaps some kale or chard or spinach, cook until tender, and you've got yourself some delicious Greek-style greens. Drain them and dress well with olive oil, juice of half a lemon and salt and pepper.
After you've trimmed off the greens and given the radishes a good scrub, they will look like this:
Keep the roots and the short stems on - they too are edible. Dry the radishes and put them in a pyrex or on a baking tray and toss with a few glugs of olive oil (or duck fat or butter that has been melted in the oven for a few minutes in the tray), salt and pepper. The Saveur recipe adds thyme as well and I say if you've got it, go for it, and if you don't, you won't miss it!
Roast at 350 - 425 degrees. The temperature is flexible which is helpful when you are using the oven to cook the main part of your dish. The recipe calls for a 425 degree oven, but I made fantastic roasted French Breakfast radishes last night as my duck legs were braising at 350 degrees.
Turn the radishes a couple of times and roast for 40-60 minutes. You will know they are done when they are caramelized and browned and a little shrunken. The roots and the stems will be crisp. Cut a radish in half to confirm doneness - it should be tender and translucent inside.
It's hard for me to convey with these few words how delicious these radishes are. Through roasting they are literally transformed from strong, crisp, crunchy, slightly-offensive salad staples into juicy, tender, mild, addictive, tasty, roasted vegetables. Even the roots and stems become a part of the radish I WANT to eat - they crisp up and taste almost like french fries! I could easily eat 5 radishes at one sitting, perhaps even 10! They are that good...
Serve with roasted chicken, duck legs, fish, or as a snack!