Often the very first vegetable we see a lot of from our annual garden is radishes. Usually lots of lots of radishes, because it’s easy to become over-exuberant in planting them. You know you won’t have to wait long for their crisp bite, and in our fresh-from-the-garden-veggie starved state that time of year, we may get a little carried away.
For a long time we just ate them. Like in salads, or simply with a sprinkle of salt. Then I read about the French enjoy radishes – with crusty bread, soft butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. For awhile, that combination became a favorite snack.
A few years ago, I ran across the idea of cooking radishes. Hmmmmm – it sounded crazy, but I am never one to pass up trying something new, so threw some on a baking sheet with oil and salt, and roasted them. Whoa! They were amazing – earthy, no longer so spicy, with a very pleasant bitter undertone.
Then, to truly blow my mind. I saw a recipe for cooking the greens. Now, we have always loved all sorts of greens, but the tops of radishes don’t seem all that palatable, because they are kind of prickly, and due to that, not very easy to clean. I was never sorry back then, when I gave them to the chickens, but a salad spinner takes care of the cleaning, and cooking gets rid of the prickles entirely, leaving you with silky greens that are unlike any others – so flavorful and satisfying.
If you spend much time around here, you probably know by now, that we don’t have AC, so I have a pretty strict rule about turning on the oven when the weather is hot. If I won’t turn it on for brownies, I am sure as heck not turning it on for radishes, so an alternative was needed: sauteing.
And just as an extra nod to the French way, sauteing them in butter, and finishing them off with some sea salt [I like Maldon Sea Salt for this.] Finally, after you lift the radishes and greens out to a serving dish, you add a splash of fresh lime juice to the remaining butter in the pan and swish it around to make a buttery vinaigrette sort of sauce. Yikes!Not only is it one of the tastiest things I’ve had, but also amazingly fast and easy – it is taking me far longer to write this post than it did to make the dish.
- About 2 pounds of radishes, tops included
- 2 - 3 tablespoons butter
- freshly ground pepper
- juice from about ½ of a large lime
- sea salt, preferably Maldon
- Separate the greens from the radishes, and clean both well. It might take a few washes to get the greens clean as they tend to really hang on to grit.
- Pick out any yellowed or terribly tattered leaves, and trim out any larger stalks as they will be very tough. You can roughly chop them, or just leave whole. Set aside.
- Cut the radishes in half, unless they are very small. Larger ones may be cut in thirds or quarters.
- Melt a tablespoon of the butter in a large saute pan.
- When the butter is bubbling well, add the radishes to the pan, getting as many of the cut sides facing down as possible. Sprinkle with a few grinds of black pepper.
- When the first sides have some nice color, stir them to brown the other sides, and very lightly sprinkle with a bit of the sea salt - not too much, because you are going to finish them with more at the end.
- When the second sides are browned, and the radishes are getting somewhat soft, push them all to the edges of the pan, and melt a second tablespoon of butter in the center.
- Add the reserved greens, and use tongs to kind of toss them in the newly melted butter, then cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, occasionally tossing them a bit with the tongs to get them evenly cooked.
- Mix the radishes and greens together in the pan, sprinkle with some sea salt, and remove to a serving dish, lifting out with the tongs, to leave the pan juices behind.
- You can add the third tablespoon of butter at this point, or just go with what's left in the pan, and squeeze the fresh lime juice into the pan. Mix well, and drizzle over the radishes and greens.
- Finish the dish with a few more grains of sea salt.
- Serve hot, with extra salt and lime on the side, refrigerate leftovers
Sauteed Radishes with Sea Salt and Lime. See – super easy, right? And, until you give this a try, you won’t believe how good it is.
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