Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taming the fiery beast

Radishes. Whenever I see red radishes, I think of my mom. She loved fresh radishes and spoke fondly of her childhood on the farm, plucking tiny young radishes from the earth, rubbing them briefly on her sleeve to remove the dirt, and eating them warm from the ground.

In our home, there was never a green salad on our table without slices of radish. They always appeared in her potato salad. And a "special occasion" dinner was never without a plate of carrots, celery, and radish "roses".

Honestly, I never cared for them. Too hot and peppery. 

Today is Tuesday, Farmers Market Day in my town. Local farmers were displaying ripe berries, rhubarb, spinach, peas. And radishes. But not the red-hot veggies of my childhood. These were enticing little pastel globes--light and dark pink, white and bluish-purple. And, they called to me, they lured me, and before I could come to my senses I found myself walking home with a plastic bag of these lovely little roots.

I washed one and took a bite--it was wonderfully crisp and sweet, but still had the peppery bite I remembered. I know that one way to tame the heat of garlic is to cook it slowly--either roasting or with a brief saute. So I wondered if the same could be done with radishes.

Roasted Radishes
1 bunch (about one pound) assorted small radishes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, melted
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash the radishes. Cut off the root ends and the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the stem. Dry and then place in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle oil and melted butter on top, and then sprinkle with sea salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Bake in preheated oven 10-15 minutes.

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