spring gardening means lots of radishes. the familiar red spheres are so pretty and colorful; a perfect accent or garnish. radishes are enjoying a moment now and there is no shortage of shapes or colors available to dress up your salad or hors d’oeurves . the entire plant is edible though so think twice about discarding the leaves and flower stalks as you pick them from the garden.
if only i was a fan of the flavor, sadly, raw radishes just are not something i enjoy. every now and then, i will cut some into thin slices or julienne a few and add them to a salad. in this manner, they are acceptable. but will you ever see me munch away on whole radishes? probably not.
the blossoms of radishes that have bolted, otherwise referred to as having gone to seed, have a flavor that is a cross of raw broccoli and the radish root. the different varieties can be different colors but most are white. we grew red sparklers and white icicle radishes and the funny thing is, the white icicle radishes produced the pink blooms!
this was truly the end of the line for the radish season in our garden. the suddenly hot, dry days caused the plants to bolt and produce flowers pretty quickly. it was time to clear the bed to make way for summer vegetables.
lately, i have been roasting everything. i love the slightly caramelized flavor it gives the vegetables and since i’m not a big fan of radishes in the raw state, i thought maybe roasting would help. a light coat of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and into the 425 degree oven they went. it took about 20 minutes to get the right state of roasted/softened for my palate.
while the greens can be a little fuzzy and unpleasant raw, they are wonderful when cooked. a quick saute of onions and garlic in olive oil got the dish started.
the greens, remove the stems if you like, were added with a bit of broth and then covered to get the wilting started. once they gave up their juices and cooked down a bit, i took off the cover and let them cook for a while to tenderize the stems. i started with more than a gallon of greens and it cooked down to about a quart; a side dish that would serve about 6 people.
the flavor can be a little strong (but with no hint of radish flavor) so to mellow it, a couple teaspoons of dark brown sugar and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar as well as a little salt and pepper will do the job.
toss the radishes with the greens and pour them out onto a platter with all of the pot likker and let the radish feast commence. looks like i will be gathering seeds for radishes of all colors for the fall!