Since we’ve had colder weather than usual for these past few months, radishes are still in season–nay, they are at PEAK season, if the radishes I snagged last week at the farmers’ market are any indication. I’ve had my fair share of tough, bitter radishes–I even swore off radishes after a particularly disappointing round of radish toast last summer–but these babies were transcendent. Crisp, almost translucent, sweet, juicy, and with a tantalizing hint of that signature spicy radish zing. They were a foodie’s dream. And so I honored these simple, perfect veggies the best way I knew how: by making a simple, perfect dish with minimal ingredients that lets the radishes shine through.
Don’t be fooled by their mild crunch; radishes are no stranger to health benefits. They’re great for your digestive system, since they contain a lot of roughage and a high water content. They have cancer-fighting nutrients like folic acid, Vitamin C and anthocyanins. They’re a diuretic, and good for your urinary tract. But you don’t need to think about all that when you’re eating this delicious amuse-bouche. You just need to focus on how delicious it tastes, which shouldn’t be too hard.
Who here has tried radish toast before? It’s popular in ever-so-hip Europe, but plenty of Americans are still strangers to the dish. Channel your inner Francophile and break this one out at cocktail parties to really impress people. Since the ingredient list is so spare, you’ll want to use the best of everything to get the best effect. Snag a fresh loaf of bread while you’re at the market (I got pepper-thyme bread, whoa) and try out my personal favorite brand of butter: the golden-yellow Kerrygold.
- 1 bunch fresh radishes
- butter (vegans, use your best olive oil)
- pepper, if desired
Wash the radishes well, and remove the greens. Slice each radish into paper-thin rounds.
Lightly toast the bread. (For parties, cut the bread up into quarter slices, or use smaller baguette rounds.) Spread with a thicker-than-normal layer of butter. Layer the radishes on top, slightly overlapping. Finish with a generous sprinkle of salt. Add the pepper if you want more of a kick. Eat next to an open window, while dreaming of Paris.
Need to really impress someone with your knack for flavor combinations? Check out this recipe for Radish-Chive Tea Sandwiches with Sesame and Ginger.
photo attribute: Alistair Williamson