Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Radish Love

It's time to spread a little love in the world for my good friends, the radish.

They are so crunchy and spicy and sharp! They are like the meanest of vegetables. They are like your mean friend who has a sharp tongue and always says really incisive things that cut to the bone and sting, but later you have to admit she was right. And plus she is so refreshing after all the sweet lies everyone else always tells.

I almost always have radishes in the fridge, in a cold glass of water which keeps them from getting soft. In the winter it's black radishes, which seem like something that came out of the frozen tundra in Siberia, and you know just by looking at them that there is some intense survival compound in there. It is not a vegetable that wasted any resources on being pretty or perfumey or sweet. Like your friend who is ugly and brilliant and -- okay, enough with the friend metaphors.

Unlike mean friends, radishes have been scientifically proven to be good for you. They contain this phytonutrient called Isothiocyanates, which I can't pronounce or spell or remember, but which apparently stops carcinogens in their tracks.

Anyway, the pretty radishes are in season now, but they are still sharp and mean and refreshing.

Here's how I eat them:

-On good French bread with good butter and lots of coarse sea salt
-With cheddar cheese
-Sliced in salads
-Sliced and laid on top of slices of cheese on top of Ry-Vita or Wasa crackers
-Pickled in rice vinegar and salt and mirin and served with brown rice

And now Mark Bittman's blog has another suggestion: Radish Salad. I am totally trying this.

Are my kids going to eat radishes? Uhh, no. Probably not for a few years, when they've killed off enough taste buds so they can stand the spiciness. I'm just setting a good example for them now. With my radish sandwich. They're so good!


Liz said...


Adding to the wonderfulness of the radish: you can make its greens into a great pesto, which I based on a recipe my husband found in Barbara Kafka's "Vegetable Love": Sautee 3 minced garlic cloves in 1/4 cup olive oil until the garlic is soft; add 4 cups stemmed and washed radish greens. Sautee until well wilted. Pulse in a food processor with 3 tbsps water, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. Serve over pasta.

Thanks for the blog!
Liz (Jamie's friend and upstairs neighbor)

Larissa Phillips said...

Liz, that sounds amazing! As I've mentioned here and there, my inner-Puritan hates throwing away perfectly good vegetable scraps, so this will make her very happy, and the rest of me, too. Thanks for posting!