Why is it that the vegetables that are the easiest to grow are the ones I tire of most quickly? I didn’t even plant radishes this year figuring I’d get more than enough at the farmers market and didn’t need to take up valuable space in my garden. That was before I tried roasting them. The taste of roasted radishes is like experiencing a whole new vegetable — tender, sweet and a little spicy. They’re similar to baby turnips in taste but add a bright splash of color to any plate. Roasted radishes are popping up on restaurant menus so why not try them at home?
Pretty as tiny Christmas tree ornaments, radishes are plentiful at the farmers markets this time of year. After a bunch or two for salads or just sliced with bread and butter, you may be ready for something different. Roasting in the oven or even pan roasting are simple alternatives. I tried both methods. Either way, begin by washing and then chopping off the tails and the greens. Smaller radishes may be oven roasted whole and larger ones cut in halves or quarters.
To oven roast radishes, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put radishes in a bowl and coat with olive oil, sea salt & pepper. Bake for about 20-30 minutes.
They’re sweet and delicious, hot out of the oven or use as you would any roasted vegetable — in a salad or as a side dish.
Pan roasting is just as easy. Melt some butter in a frying pan, saute radishes until brown — takes about 15 minutes, add a good squeeze of lemon juice, salt & pepper. I crumbled some Mt. Townsend Creamery fromage blanc on top — feta would also do the trick. Melissa Clark has a recipe for pan roasted radishes with anchovies, garlic and red pepper in the NY Times recently that I’m dying to try.
The oven roasted are slightly sweeter and crispier but I loved the addition of lemon and cheese so in the end, I mixed both together and sat down for a lovely radish salad for lunch. It was perfect but I could imagine adding chopped herbs, anchovies and garlic and making more of a meal of it.
And now I know you’re wondering if you can eat the radish greens. Yes, you can but I wouldn’t buy radishes just to eat the greens. The ones I got from Alm Hill Gardens were more beautiful than most, not overly furry or tattered. I started with a little duck fat and garlic, sauteed lightly, then added the greens and covered to wilt. They were just okay — nothing special (even with the duck fat!) but definitely edible. Ultimately, I’m sorry to say even Charlie wasn’t enamored and they ended up in the compost.
There’s still time to slip a row of radish seeds in your garden. They’ll germinate in about a week and you can eat them in 3-4 weeks. Radishes are a great choice for a children’s garden.