A Bushel and a Peck

What to Do with an Overload of Radishes

By • July 11, 2014 • 15 Comments

It's the season of overflowing market bags, heavy CSA boxes, and gardens run amok. Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra Cooks is showing us how to store, prep, and make the most of the bounty, without wasting a scrap.

Today: Get inspired by a glut of radishes, whether you're on your first bunch of the season of your 100th.

Radishes on Food52

I think by now we all know the formula: Radishes + salt = appetizer elegance. Radishes + butter + baguette = snack time nirvana. Radishes + rustic farm table + screen-printed textiles = a food photographer's dream.

But what if you're on your 100th radish bunch of the summer and these peppery gems need to play a greater role? More than something to tide us over between meals, more than just a garnish? What if a bundle of radishes on its own must be tonight’s vegetable?

Radishes Trimmed on Food52

CSA subscribers, prolific gardeners, and enthusiastic market-goers alike know this issue all too well. Sure, radishes and butter and salt are made for each other, but come mid-summer, even the most striking ombre roots begin to lose their luster.

More: Meet the radish with a dark side.

When this happens, it might be time to reconsider the formula. While we usually eat radishes raw, they can be cooked, and when they are, they transform. When roasted in the oven at high heat, radishes, like many root vegetables, caramelize and take on those concentrated, wintry flavors.

Radishes Halved on Food52

Roasted radishes are delicious, but this time of year, a nice option is to pan-braise, which mellows the radish's spice and changes its texture, making it tender and moist, almost beet-like. This Deborah Madison recipe, though perhaps more hands-on than other radish recipes, still takes only minutes to prepare and keeps the flavors simple: shallots, butter, water, herbs. The beauty of this preparation, too, is that the greens steam with the radishes at the very end, making the dish more substantial -- a side that will comfortably feed four.

If the onslaught of radishes is already getting to you, it might be time to give your mandoline a rest. Your skillet can't wait to enter the equation.

Radishes and Shallots on Food52

To store and prep your radishes:

  • As soon as you get home, remove any elastic bands or ties and trim the greens from the radishes, using scissors or a sharp knife.
  • Store the greens and radishes in bags or in tea towels, wrapped loosely in the refrigerator.
  • Soak both the greens and radishes in a large bowl of cold water before serving -- both tend to be dirty.
  • Dry radishes well before serving; the greens can be somewhat damp before steaming or sautéing.
  • Greens that have yellowed should be discarded; greens that look tired can be revived in a bowl of cold water -- after 20 to 30 minutes, the greens should perk up; if they don’t, they’re probably beyond repair.

More: Looking for more step-by-step radish prep photos? Head here.

Radish Greens on Food52

To cook your radishes:

  • Radishes are most often served raw, halved and sprinkled with salt, shaved into salads, layered over butter-smeared baguettes, shredded into slaws. They also can be marinated with olive oil and lemon and mint for a refreshing salad, and they can be pickled with a classic vinegar-sugar-salt mix. Finely diced radishes mixed with red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime make a peppery and crunchy salsa, a nice addition to any taco.
  • Radishes can also be cooked, as described here, or roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 450º F for 15 to 20 minutes or until caramelized and tender. Additionally, they can be sautéed and puréed with any number of vegetables (parsnips, potatoes, turnips, etc.) for a light vegetable side dish. This purée, too, can be thinned into a soup with chicken or vegetable stock.
  • The greens: Discard any yellow greens before cooking. Greens can be quickly steamed or sautéed and dressed with olive oil or butter, a squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar, minced shallots, and any number of herbs.

Pan-Braised Radishes and Greens on Food52

Pan-Braised Radishes and Greens

Serves 4

2 large bunches radishes and their greens
1 shallot
4 teaspoons butter, or more or less, divided
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Water
1 bunch fresh tarragon
Splashes vinegar (optional)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Alexandra Stafford

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Tags: market, CSA, radishes, how-to & diy, farmers market, everyday cooking, special diets

Comments (15)

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16 days ago Poppies and Papayas

Roasted radishes are wonderful! And then tossed with fresh market greens and a hearty grain and you are set. http://poppiesandpapayas...

Astafford

5 days ago Alexandra Stafford

That grain salad is beautiful! Love the big hunk of cheese.

Zo-9

17 days ago Zozo

Love radishes cooked when you have an overload. Love that you don't ignore the greens too. In many Asian cultures the daikon leaves are the best bit!

Here's what I like to do: http://twospoons.wordpress...

Astafford

17 days ago Alexandra Stafford

Zozo, that radish-yogurt sauce looks divine! Thanks for sharing your link to those ideas — gorgeous post!

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17 days ago penelope

We like to slice them, wrap them in foil with some olive oil, and throw them on the grill. I'll have to try pan-braising them, yum.

Astafford

17 days ago Alexandra Stafford

I am going to try this this weekend — I'm with friends on Long Island, and we're heading to the farmstand in a bit to pick up dinner. Sounds so good!

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17 days ago Superdutch

NEVER, EVER trim the radishes before storing! People, really! Keep the greens on while in the fridge and the radishes will stay fresh much, much longer. Just put them as they are into tea towels as described, or in a plastic bag that is left open, as they need to breathe. But do not trim the greens: that is a sure way of letting the radishes wilt in no time.
And once you trim the greens, do not throw it way! they can go raw into mixed salads or wilted with a small amount of butter into an omelette.

Miglore

17 days ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Superdutch, can you tell us where you got that information? Most recommendations I've read say the opposite -- that the leaves actually leach moisture from the root. Also, I personally hate having to scrape wilted greens off my radishes before eating them, which I find happens pretty quickly when I get lazy and store them this way.

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17 days ago penelope

My experience is that leaving the greens on makes the radishes (like carrots or beets) flabby and unappetizing.

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17 days ago Panfusine

Chilled, diced radishes with a sprinkle of crushed toasted cumin, pepper & rocksalt.. Spritzed with the juice of 1/2 a lemon..

Astafford

17 days ago Alexandra Stafford

yum. love the idea of toasted cumin – sounds Ottolenghiesque :)

Stringio

18 days ago Alice Malice

I eat low carb and have discovered that radishes make a great substitue for potatoes in potato salads and home fries.

Astafford

17 days ago Alexandra Stafford

I bet! I've never thought to do this. So, do you just slice the radishes in half? Or do you parcook them at all?

Stringio

15 days ago Alice Malice

For both recipes, wash and drain the radishes and trim off the ends. Cut into quarters or eighths depending on the size of the radish - you want evenly sized pieces. Then proceed with your recipe. For faux potato salad, I boil them until they are fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. Then drain well and make as you would your favorite potato salad recipe. For home fries, just fry them in butter, bacon fat or oil, covered, for about 10-15 minutes or until fork tender and then cook uncovered until they start to brown. Then season however you like.

Astafford

5 days ago Alexandra Stafford

Thank you, Alice! Both of these recipes sound delicious, especially the home fries. Yum!