I haven’t always been so sure about radishes. When I was a kid growing up on the shore, my dad used to pack ziplock bags of cut veggies for long days at the beach. These bags included green peppers, carrots and radishes. I’ll never forget that combination because it never, ever changed. I usually started with the carrots, then suffered through the green peppers and finally, very begrudgingly, ate the radishes. A small child has to be seriously desperate to voluntarily eat a raw radish. For one thing, they taste kind of like dirt. While I can appreciate that earthy flavor now, at the time the whole vegetable itself was puzzling because, obviously, anything that was red in color was supposed to be sweet and delicious like candy (or at least palatable). Not the case with these things. In fact sometimes they were downright atomic and I would be forced to spit them out for their spicy afterbite. But year after year, with this assortment being the only option available, deliriously hungry from hours of wave-riding and castle-digging, I learned to like them. My Dad was basically trying to save $13 on a hot dog at the snack bar but in the end, he taught me to love a pretty hard core root vegetable.
And it’s fall! So now radishes are at every single stand at the farmer’s market and they are just so incredibly beautiful! Seeing a radish in it’s true form (and not cut up and shoved into a clear plastic bag from the produce department) is such an inspiring thing. They are covered in dirt, sprouting little tails and have lush green radish tops (which are also edible & highly nutritious). They are all different shapes and sizes, some are red, purple, white, pink…in short, they are pretty awesome looking.
So, short of slicing them up and serving them in a salad or using them to scoop dip, what do you do with a radish? I pondered this question as I found myself shoving 6 bunches of them into my bag. I started thinking that they kind of resemble a little red potato and I decided I would try treating them that way and roast them. And it was a slam dunk.
I kept it simple since I was just exploring whether roasting these guys would be a triumph or disaster. And as it turned out, simple was the way to go. Not only is roasting radishes super easy, but it completely changes their flavor. The roasting process releases a bit of of sweetness and mellows the earthiness leaving you with a moist, mild and versatile veggie. I added the radish tops to the dish because they are the most nutritive part of the radish – they are full of antioxidants, calcium, folate, magnesium, iron and vitamin C & vitamin A. However, if you choose not to use them for this don’t toss them away – they can be used in smoothies, juicers or sauteed by themselves like spinach or kale. From top to bottom, this vegetable rocks. You can pair these with just about any main course meat, we served these with grilled chicken and called it a meal. Delicious!
- 3 Cups Radishes, halved
- 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
- 10 Black Peppercorns
- 3 Spragues Fresh Organic Rosemary
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Radish Tops, Stems Removed
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Remove the stems from the radish, separate leaves from the stems and set leaves aside.
- Chop radishes in halves or quarters, depending on the size and shape. You want the radishes to be cut roughly the same size so they will roast evenly.
- With a mortar & pestle, grind 1 teaspoon sea salt along with your peppercorns until well ground.
- Give the rosemary a rough chop.
- Toss 2 tablespoons of olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper in with the radishes until well covered
- Pour onto a non-stick baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 425 for 30-35 minutes, or until the radishes are browned and crisp. Remove from oven.
- In a large saute pan, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the radish top leaves, 1 teaspoon salt and saute until wilted.
- Toss radishes in with radish tops and serve immediately.