The Humble Radish, 3 Ways

The humble radish.
Not long ago I made a peevish reference to radishes in a post and received reader comments and e-mails suggesting I’d missed the point – that radishes are not the bitter, moody root I made them out to be.
I wondered: have I paid this veg its proper due? Maybe not. Perhaps there were other applications for the peppery raphanus sativus aside from the radish rose. I googled ‘radish recipe’ and got more than three million results; this was going to take awhile, particularly since the recipe would have to conform to the 10-mile Challenge. And also not taste disgusting. I hunted through scores of sites and from that endeavor the following three dishes came to pass.
In the process I learned a lot about the radish. Did you know they are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and potassium? And radishes have a long history of medicinal uses, particularly for an upset stomach? That ancient tomb paintings show black radishes being used as payment in Egypt during the construction of the pyramids? Or that radishes were so highly regarded in ancient Greece that wealthy aristocrats wore little gold radish replicas around their neck for good luck?
Now you know.
Radish Soup.
Radish Soup
Of the three recipes we made this is my favorite. Turns out radish soup, at least in this configuration, is utterly delicious. The yogurt adds a wonderful creamy element that cools the root’s heat. My soup didn’t turn out the pretty pink color depicted on the recipe link because I used my own vegetable stock which is quite dark and hearty. Yes, the recipe turned out so tasty I will make this soup again. (quick note: I added the potato back into the broth before pureeing it as opposed to separating them as instructed in the recipe.) See the Recipe.
Ingredient Sources:
potato and onion: Horsford Farms, Weedsport NY
bay leaf: from The Husband’s herb garden
vegetable stock: mine! Made entirely from farmer’s market vegetables a few weeks ago then vacuum sealed in 1 cup batches and frozen;
yogurt: Wake Robin Farms, Jordan, NY
radish: from the garden of my friend Karen. Many thanks!

Raw Root and Cucumber Salad.
Raw Root and Cucumber Salad
This crunchy salad is not just quick and easy it also makes excellent use of what is in season at the market: carrots, cucumber and, of course, radishes. There is such an abundance of these vegetables right now that they are very inexpensive, so this salad cost pennies to make. We’re sure to make it again many times this summer as an easy, inexpensive veg- accompaniment for whatever else we’re cooking. Incidentally, had I any apple on hand I would have julienned it and tossed it in this salad for a sweet element. Here is the Recipe.
Ingredient Sources:
cucumber and radish: Hobbit Hollow Farm, Skaneateles, NY
apple cider vinegar: Owen Orchards, Weedsport, NY. This was an exciting find at last week’s farmer’s market! Really delicious vinegar for summer cooking.  
Roasted radish with black pepper and balsamic vinegar.
Roasted Radish
We followed the advice of readers and roasted ourselves a batch of radish grown by Hobbit Hollow Farms in Skaneateles. The Husband tossed the root in oil, sprinkled lightly with salt and baked until soft. I didn’t care for the squishy interior when the veg was done so he gave them a quick pan-searing and topped them with ground pepper. What people say about roasted radishes is absolutely true: it brings out the root’s natural sugars and eradicates the bitter flavor I’ve always associated with radish.
Ready for the oven.
These are three humble offerings among endless possible recipes. They’ve helped change my mind about radishes. The root is a lovely thing fresh from the ground, so different from the leather-skinned horrors I’ve encountered in the past. I’ve decided to give other hated vegetables another go. Maybe. Next on the list: Brussels sprout. Thankfully I’ve got a few more months to prepare before those awful interesting things are in season.

Karen’s radishes.


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  • Reply FoodiePilgrim July 15, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Brilliant! I have underestimated that pungent root as well. Now in two days I am convinced to reexamine my prejudices: hoppy ales and now the radish.
    I love discovering something new, even when it’s old!

  • Reply kareydk July 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Oh, I LOVE Brussels sprouts! Even T will eat one with his meal. He prefers his drenched with hot sauce. I will take a look at that radish soup recipe. The darn things are so easy to grow — and ripen ahead of most other things — that they are sure to be part of our garden again next year.

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