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The Virtual Panier - Radishes

Posted by Kim / July 4, 2007

20070704_panierradish3.jpg“It’s like an apple did it with an onion.” The Simpsons' character, Jimbo, couldn’t have described the radish more aptly. I’m not a long time fan of radishes – their oniony, peppery bite took a while for my palate to adapt to. Fortunately I have recently become a fan, especially now that Montreal is in the midst of the radish season. It’s difficult to find a cheaper vegetable to snack on; so far, my best score has been three massive bunches of radishes for $0.99.

There are many varieties of radish, which are a root vegetable, but the kind that are filling the grocers’ and farmers’ stands right now are the red-skinned type. It’s hard to go wrong when selecting your radishes – if it looks or feels bad, it is. Look for healthy green leaves on top and make sure the root is bright and firm when squeezed. So what to do with all these radishes? Well, they’re pretty hardy and will last long in your fridge (but remove their leaves!) But if eating them is more your style, you have plenty of options.

20070704_panierradish1.jpgThere’s always the obvious; slice them up and eat them raw, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Or toss them into a salad to give it a bit of extra crispiness. Another option would be to make radish salad, which is especially good with a dill-yogurt dressing (1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 lemon’s juice, couple pinches of sugar and 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill). Throw in a couple sliced crisp apples, cucumbers and onion slices, and, of course, radishes, and it’s a perfect summer salad.

Waste not, want not…so eat those radish greens along with the radish! They are edible, and are similar to spinach or any other dark green leaf. Mince a shallot and cook it in a tablespoon of butter over low heat until it becomes soft. Add 1/2 cup of white wine (I love recipes that involve adding wine – not only does it richen any sauce, but it makes preparing dinner even more entertaining), and boil. Once the liquid is reduced to about half, lower the heat and whisk in 5 more tablespoons of butter, then a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice, fresh tarragon and a little salt and pepper. Sauté your radishes with their tops still attached until they’re slightly wilted, and serve with the tarragon butter on the side.

If you want to experiment with radishes, radish soup is the route to take. Boil together 5 cups of vegetable or chicken broth with 1 teaspoon each grated fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, pepper, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar. Toss in two cups each sliced radishes, shredded spinach and scallions and simmer.
20070704_panierradish4.jpgFeel free to add some chopped shitake mushrooms and shrimp near the end for some extra flavour, and top with some freshly diced radish.

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