Every single part of the radish is edible – from root to leaf to seedpod. I love radishes best raw, but they can also be fried, braised, steamed and roasted. Cooking radishes reduces some of their peppery bite – but be warned, it also reduces their vitamin C content.
Radishes pair deliciously with butter and creamy cheeses (like goat), with onions and chives, and with citrus fruits and their juice. They can also be chopped up finely and add to any mayo-based salad (i.e., potato, tuna) – they add a much-needed crunchy bite. They also taste great in salads with nutty grains like faro and quinoa. Mexican cuisine employs raw table radishes to add a crunchy, peppery accent to tacos, salads, sandwiches (tortas) and other dishes. If you’re hell-bent on cooking your table radishes, braising or roasting is the way to go.
Storage: Cut off the greens as soon as you get home and put them in a separate bag in the fridge. The greens pull water and nutrients out of the root, causing your radishes to go soft earlier than they should. The greens don’t store well, so try to eat them as soon as you can after pickup.
Spring Radishes Braised with Shallots and Vinegar
2 large bunches of radishes, about 1 pound
3 large shallots
1 tablespoon butter
2 ounces salt pork, slivered into small slices
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 small bunch Italian parsley, leaves chopped into about two handfuls
Salt and pepper
Trim away tops and bottoms of the radishes, reserving for soup or discarding to compost. (Ours were not in good shape so we let them go.) Slice each radish in half from top to bottom. Peel the shallots and slice into thin rings.
Heat the butter and salt pork over medium heat in a large heavy skillet – preferably cast iron. When the pork is starting to curl up at the edges and the butter has foamed and subsided, add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they start to brown slightly. Add the radishes, placing each cut side down in the skillet. Let them cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes or until the bottoms just start to color.
Add the balsamic vinegar and the water – the water should just come up around the sides of the radishes. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove the cover and continue to simmer for about 3-4 minutes, or unti the water has reduced into a syrupy sauce. Add the the parsley and sauté for about a minute or two, until it’s wilted.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.