Ten years ago, when Food Site of the Day was new, we wrote an article on radishes called, Radishes — Get to Know the Whole Tribe. Back then, though we elaborated on many radish varieties, there seemed to be limited use for the seemingly not-too-important crop. We limited our serving suggestions to: Stir-frys, green salads, tea sandwiches, slaws, stews, boiled and buttered, flavoring in cottage cheese or pickled in vinegar. We regarded them mostly as pretty little red-rimmed disks in our salads.
Time was when radishes were planted in a family garden almost as the kids’ crop. However, when they sprang up early with an edible root attached, a salt shaker would make it out from the house and, together, family members toasted what would be a good summer of homegrown fresh produce.
Pepperiness and spicy heat are two increasingly popular taste sensations for North Americans, and our tolerance for each seems to be increasing. Arugula, round-red and elongated red with white tip radishes are good examples of peppery produce we are using in new ways.
The little red critters also doubled their importance when we learned their peppery green tops, when fresh and perky, are very good for us. They are a good source of vitamin C, folate and vitamin K. We are finding them in salads and soups. Wash carefully then use as you would fresh spinach leaves, raw, sautéed or blanched.
We also find present-day radish selections have been narrowed some to mostly the small reddish ones. Large, white daikons seem to populate a world of their own. Here are 2011’s serving suggestions for small radishes:
Radish Tzatziki, radishes concocted with onion, yogurt, dill and lemon zest (a fresh approach to an old Greek standard)
Radishes and their green tops sliced onto a toasted bagette topped with herbed butter (Barefloot Countessa)
Radishes braised with stock butter, shallots, sugar and red wine vinegar
A fruit salad with orange, red onion and mint
Another fruit salad: sliced radishes with apples, onion and lettuce topped with a yogurt dressing
Radishes pickled with vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, garlic and fennel
Radish in a salsa with lime, mango, red onion, chili powder, cilantro and olive oil
Roast red radishes along with carrots, thyme, olive oil and lime
Radishes, along with pimentos, capers, Dijon mustard, dill, olive oil and lemon as a seafood accompaniment
Butter-sauteed radishes radishes served over wilted watercress mixed with radish greens
Radishes roasted with oil, soy sauce, scallions and sesame seed
Cold radish buttermilk soup with cucumbers, rice vinegar and a touch of sugar
In an Asian pickled relish of sliced radishes, carrots rice wine, vinegar, peanuts, Sriracha sauce, a little sugar and salt
So, Food Site of the Day hopes this article has kept on proving our original intent, and that is food just keeps getting more and more exciting as new combinations keep traveling quickly and deliciously around our world.