Unusual Ways to Use Radishes

Roasted Radishes with Carrots
Oven-Roasted Radishes with Radish Greens
Seared Radish Crostini
Daikon Latkes
Quick Pickled Radishes
Pickled Garlic Radishes

If you thought the only thing you could do with a radish was eat it raw – whole or sliced up and tossed into a salad – guess again. You can pickle and even roast them. Roasted radishes? Marco Shaw, a chef in Durham, North Carolina, told me that’s how he likes them, which was a surprise to me.

I’m not the only one for whom the notion of roasting a radish was a revelation. Melissa Gilbert, of the New York Times, who noticed that roasted radishes were turning up on menus in leading restaurants all over New York, observed, “Of all the things you can do with a radish – slice it into salads, chop it into salsa, shred it into slaw or, better, top it with a thick layer of sweet butter and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt – the last thing I’d thought to do was cook it.”

radish varieties

Easter egg, French breakfast and daikon radishes from the Santa Monica farmers market, Nov. 20, 2010

She gave it a try, sliced some in half, quickly roasted them in a hot oven with butter and lemon juice and declared, “One mouthful, and I immediately got the appeal. Instead of spicy, crisp and crunchy, these radishes were sweet, succulent and mellow, vaguely like turnips but with a softer bite.” I have tinkered with Gilbert’s recipe for roasted radish crostini – suggesting kalamata olives in lieu of anchovies, for those who don’t like the latter – and added that to this list of recipes that treat radishes as something other than a salad item.

Roasted Radishes with Carrots [top]

1 dozen medium radishes
1 dozen small carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Half a lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Place the radishes and carrots in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Spread radishes and carrots in a single layer on a baking pan, and roast for about 20 minutes. Transfer to serving dish, squeeze lemon over roasted vegetables and serve.

Oven-Roasted Radishes with Radish Greens [top]

12-15 medium radishes with greens attached
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Trim the greens off the radishes, wash the greens, pat dry, chop into inch-long pieces and set aside. Trim the roots off the radish bulbs and cut in half.

2. In a large cast iron or other ovenproof skillet, heat the oil, stir in the radish halves, season with salt and pepper and stir the radishes until they are well coated with oil. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the radishes for 15 minutes, until they are nicely browned.

3. Return the skillet to the burner and stir in the butter to coat the radishes. Add the radish greens and cook over moderate heat for a couple of minutes until they are wilted. Add the lemon juice and season with salt. Serve immediately.

Seared Radish Crostini [top]

1 bunch radishes
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 anchovy fillets or a dozen kalamata olives, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
8 thin slices crusty bread, toasted
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

1. Remove leaves and stems from radishes; trim the tails. Cut larger radishes lengthwise into sixths and smaller radishes lengthwise into quarters.

2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon oil, radishes in a single layer and salt and pepper to taste. Cook radishes, without moving them, until they are lightly browned on undersides, about 3 minutes. Shake pan and continue cooking until tender, about 3 more minutes.

3. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in chopped anchovies or olives (or a combination of both), garlic, red pepper (if desired) and olive oil. Reduce heat and simmer about 4 minutes.

4. Brush each slice of toast with sauce and top with several radish wedges. Spoon additional sauce on top, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Source: Adapted from the New York Times

Daikon Latkes [top]

1 ½ cups grated daikon radish
2 teaspoons salt
1 clove garlic, minced
½ red onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cups vegetable oil for frying

1. Place the daikon in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt to remove some of the water. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and drain water

2. Stir in the garlic, onion, egg, bread crumbs and pepper. Mix well and form into eight or 10 patties.

3. Quickly fry patties in hot oil for several minutes on each side until well browned. Drain on paper towels.

Quick Pickled Radishes [top]

1 cup sliced radishes
1 cup distilled white vinegar
10 peppercorns
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 small onion, sliced
1 bay leaf

1. Bring vinegar, peppercorns, sugar and salt to a boil.

2. Layer slices of radish and onion in clean mason jar with by leaf. Pour hot vinegar mixture over radishes and onions, and refrigerate overnight.

Pickled Garlic Radishes [top]

10 red radishes, trimmed, unpeeled, quartered
10 garlic cloves, halved
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar

1. Combine radishes and garlic cloves in a clean 1-quart glass jar. Add vinegar, salt, and sugar.

2. Close jar and shake until sugar and salt begin to dissolve. Refrigerate for at least 3 days, shaking once a day.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit