Tips & Tricks

5 Genius Ways to Eat Radishes

Like asparagus and ramps, radishes are one of the first spring crops to appear in farmers’ markets—but not everyone knows how to use the root veg to its full potential.

Like asparagus and ramps, radishes are one of the first spring crops to appear in farmers’ markets—but not everyone knows how to use the root veg to its full potential. In fact, they can be an acquired taste. When raw, radish varieties like French breakfast and watermelon are crunchy, sharp and peppery. But shaved thin, they’re a great addition to salads. And you don’t have to stop there. These five surprising ideas show what the humble radish can truly do —and make a believer out of the biggest radish skeptic.

Serve Radishes Whole With Butter And Salt
Eat like a Parisian with this simple French appetizer. Rinse and dry little radishes and serve them alongside softened butter (the fancier the better) sprinkled with sea salt (the flakier the better). Dip each radish in the salty butter. The richness of the “dip” softens their spicy bite.

Poach Them In Butter
A brand new way of looking at the root: beneath a layer of simmering butter. By submerging radishes in melted butter and cooking them until tender (a.k.a. poaching), they become surprisingly creamy and tender, says Plated Head Chef Elana Karp. Arrange radishes in a skillet in a single layer and pour over a mixture of 1 cup each water and melted butter until the radishes are just covered. Season with salt and simmer until radishes are soft and almost translucent.

Don’t Toss Their Leaves
Like the leaves of beets and turnips, radish greens are perfectly edible, so long as they’re in good shape. You can broil, sauté, or boil them for pairing with any radish dish. One delicious approach: Turn the leaves into the base of a pesto by blending them with nuts (pine nuts and walnuts are best), olive oil, salt, and lemon juice, then tossing with quartered raw radishes for a root-to-leaf experience.

Sauté Or Roast Them
As with poaching in butter, some time in a skillet or oven mellows radishes’ kick and makes them more appealing to those who think their flavor is too intense raw. Heat oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook halved or quartered radishes until they’re golden and tender. The same idea applies to roasting. Toss radishes (you can even keep them whole) with oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 350° until golden and tender, about 15 minutes.

Turn Them Into Salsa
The spicy flavor of radishes make them a serious candidate for a crunchy rendition of homemade salsa. Toss minced ones with red and green peppers, shallots, and cucumbers. Add lime juice, jalapenos, and cilantro and let sit for an hour or more so that the flavors meld.

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