I love radishes raw, crispy and sharp, and I love radishes softened by heat. For this recipe, my aim was to invent a warm version of the unbeatable classic of radishes with butter and salt.
Many thanks to Amanda for posting her salad and thus prodding me to write this down! Here you have them, slightly smokey, fat-bathed, salty and tamed radishes. (This goes really well with roast fowl.) —nogaga
large bunch radishes, trimmed and quartered
butter, for buttering gratin dish
fat rendered from bacon or lardons
clarified butter (ghee)
fat and friendly anchovy, preferably Greek and packed in salt
Melt the bacon fat and clarified butter together. When you've removed them from the heat, rinse and filet the anchovy (or two, if you are using the skinny, unsmiling tinned variety) and add to fat, mixing it around gently until it dissolves.
Butter a medium-sized gratin dish and fill with quartered radishes. Dizzle a bit of the anchovy infused fat over them, probably about a teaspoon or so, enough to protect them from the heat but not much more. Roast until al dente, about 12 to 15 minutes
Meanwhile, put your pan back onto a barely present flame, the lowest fire you possible can, and whisk the flour, mustard and pimentón into the fat. Remove from heat as soon as the flour begins to cook-- a few seconds. Whisk in lemon juice.
At this junction you have a philosophical question to address: are you in favor of purity of flavor or do you tend towards the luscious? I normally leave this dish at purity of flavor, but there are moments that require some comfort, and if you find yourself in one of those whisk the creme fraiche into your sauce. If not, soldier on.
Pour the sauce in whatever configuration you have chosen onto the radishes and mix well. Put back in oven and broil for about a minute and a half. Remove from oven and allow a moment or two of rest. Garnish with thyme leaves, give it a few twists of freshly ground white pepper, and serve.