Radishes–the pink or red ones, at least– rank high on my list of prettiest things sitting in a farmer’s market stall. Even if I didn’t like radishes, I feel as if I’d buy them and attempt to find a way I could palate them, just for the rosy pop of pink greeting me when I opened the fridge.
But I do like radishes. Which is fortunate, because you know how people always warn, “Never grocery shop on an empty stomach”? For me, I think the advice should be, “Don’t shop on a cold, drizzly day in April when you’re starved for color.” Because I took home three big bunches of the season’s first pink radishes, damp from the rain, dirt clinging to their leaves. And I’m pretty sure it was more for how they lit up the grey day than because I wanted to eat radishes every day for a week.
I grew up eating radishes raw, as crudités or on bread with a little butter. They don’t need much. Young radishes, especially, are a lot subtler and lack the too-peppery bite that scares some people away. Lately, though, I’ve been seeing a lot of cooked versions of radishes. Braised. Sautéed. I like radishes just fine raw, and couldn’t really imagine what a cooked one would taste like. I don’t think I ever would have attempted it were it not for a stubborn quest I’m on to use all edible parts of the vegetables I cook–the parts that normally get discarded. First it was turnip greens (success). Then using the darker green parts of a leek (failure). And today, when I asked the nice man at the farmer’s market if people cooked often with radish greens, he told me, “Well, you could. But the leaves are kind of prickly.” Appetizing, right?
But this is a quest. You can’t let some prickly radish greens get in the way of your
cheapskate frugal quest to get the most bang for your buck, nourishment-wise. So it was decided on my way home that I’d be having radishes and radish greens for lunch. And finally, some sort of cooked radish made sense, since anything prickly most likely needs to be cooked before eating.
The radishes themselves got a simple treatment, browned a bit in a skillet with some salt and pepper before moving to the oven. The trick here is a pretty hot oven–I set mine all the way up to 500 degrees–so that your radishes don’t slow-cook down to mush. You still want them to have a bit of their snappy texture when they come out of the oven. From there, they get finished on the stovetop with some butter and dill to wilt down the greens, and then a splash of lemon. This came together much more quickly than I anticipated, so unless you really want to be like me, eating roasted radishes at 10:30 in the morning, then start making this just 20 minutes or so before serving.
Roasted radishes & radish greens with dill
This could be easily adapted to include your favorite herb or other ingredients. I think the buttery, sweet-from-roasting radishes go nicely with the tangy dill and bright lemon.
You will need
Two bunches of radishes, with greens attached
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or kosher salt (plus more for finishing)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped (plus more for finishing)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash and trim the radishes of their greens, setting aside. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in an ovenproof skillet or casserole dish until shimmering. Add radishes, salt, and pepper, and cook on medium-high for 3 minutes, until the radishes are just beginning to brown and look more translucent.
Move the skillet to the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, turning the radishes occasionally. Return the skillet to the stovetop. Add butter, and as it melts, add the dill and greens. Stir, coating the radishes and greens with the dill butter, until the radish greens are just wilted (they’ll continue to cook after you take them off the heat.
Plate the radishes and greens, top with a squeeze of lemon, garnish with fresh dill, and more salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.