Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Using Up the Radishes...

Here are the braised red radishes
we had for last night's dinner.
The humble radish never tasted so good!

Since this week is apparently food week at my blog...

I mentioned in the list below (#10, I think) the importance of not wasting food, of using what we have-- all of it. Well, last night, I had 2 bunches of radishes left from last week's CSA pickup. I don't particularly love radishes, and I don't much care for them in salads, so I'd put off using them. But I was determined they wouldn't go to waste! So, what to do? How many raw radishes would I really want to eat? I'd initially intended to use them in fish salad tacos, but I didn't want to buy the shrimp. So, I looked in some of my cookbooks for creative radish ideas, and I found "Braised Red Radishes" in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It didn't sound particularly wonderful, but because it's Deborah Madison, and it's hard to go wrong with her recipes, I decided to try it. So we braised the radishes according to directions, reduced the sauce and poured it over the top, and tasted. Yum! What a surprise! Both Melissa and I really liked them, and I'll definitely make the recipe again with this week's radishes.

Braised Red Radishes

20 plump radishes
1 to 2 T. butter
1 shallot, diced
1 t. chopped fresh thyme or several pinches dried*
salt and freshly milled pepper

Trim the leaves from the radishes, leaving a bit of the green stems, and scrub them. If the leavs are tender and in good condition, wash them and set aside. Leave smaller radishes whole and halve or quarter larger ones.

Melt 2 to 3 teaspoons butter in a small saute pan. (The radishes should cover most of the bottom of the pan.) Add the shallot and thyme and cook for 1 minute over medium heat. Add the radishes, a little salt and pepper, and water just to cover. Simmer til radishes are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the leaves if using and cook until they're wilted and tender, 1 minute more. Remove the radishes to a serving dish. Boil the liquid, adding a teaspoon or two more butter if you like, until only about 1/4 c. remains. Pour it over the radishes and serve.

*Something I like about Deborah Madison is that she doesn't hesitate to use dried herbs when she needs to or to encourage home cooks in other practical, easy, and frugal ways.