The winter entered through the back door a little prematurely. Autumn was slowly taking steps backward to make way for the hues of blue, the last leaves to fall away from the branches of soon-to-be withered trees. You know, the ones that cast shadows behind the street lights at night. I’ve become used to hearing the wailing of those who lament winter’s arrival; grumbling about how their desire for summer to come back because the spring time wreaks havoc on their allergies.
As a child I had both allergies and asthma, two diseases that still bring me grief today. But I still have an appreciation for every season because the details are different; and the arrival of spring blooms versus the color change of the leaves in autumn are all things to be appreciated. And winter’s vegetables are some of my favorite to consume. The vibrant shades of cabbage nestled against the neutrals of potatoes and a splash of hearty greens all ready to be made into delectable soups, stews and pickled things if you’re skilled enough to take on the challenge.
I was a strange kid if you were to inquire from the right family members. I was a lover of all vegetables with the exception of okra, it had to be fried and practically burnt for me to find it palatable. Of course, I’ve since matured and adore it fried or pickled, but still slightly burnt (old habits die-hard). But enough of memory lane, lets talk radishes. My only familiarity with radishes growing up was at church potlucks on crudités platters and they were always the last thing left, along with celery. They were more oft than not left behind on salad bars and strewn to the side of the plate like the family member you wanted to avoid at all cost due to lack of personality. In culinary school we carved them into flowers during garde manger, shaved over salads as an a la minute need for a burst of color. I’ve only ever known them to be the red-headed stepchild of the cruciferous family…tis a shame.
The recipe I’m sharing with you today I hope changes your mind about these guys…or gals. I rather enjoy introducing radishes to my clients in this format and I have yet to see anyone shy away from giving them a try. It’s so simple and yet so rewarding-ly delicious – just a little bit of olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground black and you’re in business. This same method works well with carrots, rutabagas, parsnips and other hearty veggies as well.
You simply give your radishes a little rinse to remove any dirt that may be still hanging around. If your radishes have the greens attached, don’t trash them, simply give them a little rinse as well and saute them with a little salt, pepper and oil for a snack or toss them in your next salad. Place your radishes in a mixing bowl, roughly about two cups worth – that have been rinsed and quartered depending upon their size, you may want to cut them in half if they are the bigger ones. And I know that there is a plethora of radishes out there on the market so use your best judgment on what size you want to cut them. Just make sure that they are uniform so that they cook evenly. So place them in your mixing bowl with two gracious tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a healthy dousing of cracked black pepper. Roast them on 425 for 20-35 minutes, or until the skin begins to wrinkle and you see a little caramelization start to take place on the white flesh. You may want to stir them around with a wooden spatula halfway through cooking. Once they’re finish, let them hang out for a moment or two before you eat them.
I decided to make a little garlic aioli to eat them with and used the cheaters guide to make this rather quickly. I cracked and peeled three cloves of garlic and sautéed it in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive and a little salt and pepper until the garlic was aromatic and began to caramelize a little. Once I got a good amount of color on the garlic about two minutes on medium heat – I set that mixture to the side to let it cool. I pulled out my food processor and put three heavy tablespoons of Duke’s mayo in there with two dashes of Texas Pete hot sauce, a squeeze of lemon juice (1 tbsp), the garlic with the oil that it cooked in and a dash of Worcestershire. I flipped the switch and let those ingredients come together, scraping down the sides once or twice to incorporate all the ingredients. Once I was happy with the consistency I tasted it for salt and pepper.
The rest is history friends, you have your delicious roasted radishes and a delectable condiment to dip or slather them in and all is right in the world. I hope this inspires you to give it a try next time you’re at the grocer or have some hanging out in the fridge.