Monday, July 7, 2014

Red, White, and Radish

My grandmother had an expression that she pulled from her arsenal when she needed us out of her hair: “Go cook a radish.”

I don’t think she was referring to those crimson specimens that pop up in our gardens and CSA boxes. More likely the expression references the black radish, that staple of Eastern European cuisine she would have known from her Polish (ahem) roots.
Red radishes: those spicy summer treats
This old expression (the origins of which I’ve been unable to uncover) came to mind recently when several colleagues here at Storey volunteered their radish stories and photos. Maribeth Casey of our International Department had a CSA box that held bunches of French and red radishes with vibrant greens.
Our own Anne Guest grew radishes for the first time this summer.
Inventory & Royalties Manager Anne Guest had her first real radish encounter this year. “It’s the first year I’ve had a garden of any size,” she said. “It’s also the first year I’ve grown radishes, seen firsthand what they look like when they bolt, picked and eaten them. Radishes: fun for kids of any age.”
Anne’s bolted radishes in bloom
All of this got me wondering: apart from salad garnish, what are some other ways my radish-loving colleagues enjoy these spicy little roots? Jennifer Travis, our Managing Editor and Director of Contracts, loves them sliced thin on a buttered, crusty baguette or julienned in coleslaw. I love them in salads, but also sliced and lightly cooked in a stir-fry or sautรฉed with browned butter and mint (as in this recipe from Food52). And Illustration Coordinator Ilona Sherrat offered, with unbridled enthusiasm, her recipe for a simple sandwich that combines the heat and crunch of radish with cream cheese and the bright taste of fresh dill — a perfect light lunchtime thought for a warm summer day.
Watermelon radishes make a beautiful alternative to red radishes
Recipe for Radish, cream cheese, and dill sandwiches after the jump. Go cook a radish!

Radish, Cream Cheese, and Dill Sandwiches

Rye or pumpernickel bread, sliced (use cocktail rye for fancy finger sandwiches)
Plain cream cheese
2-3 radishes, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt
A few sprigs of fresh dill, finely chopped
Lox (optional)

Spread bread with cream cheese. Top with very thinly sliced fresh radishes, freshly ground pepper, a dash of sea salt, and a little finely chopped fresh dill. You can leave these open-faced or top with another slice of bread. Of course if you want to add lox so much the better!

What’s your favorite way to radish?


melonkelli said...

Quick pickles!

Anonymous said...

Yes! We do a lot of pickled daikon in my house, but quick-pickled red radishes are a great idea.