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.
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?
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.
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.
To store and prep your radishes:
More: Looking for more step-by-step radish prep photos? Head here.
To cook your radishes:
2 large bunches radishes and their greens
4 teaspoons butter, or more or less, divided
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch fresh tarragon
Splashes vinegar (optional)
Photos by Alexandra Stafford
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).Order now