Thursday, September 07, 2006

That dish is named ...

Braised Red Radishes!

Recently I invited you all to guess what this was a picture of. You all came up with some very good guesses, and at least one very funny one. I can't believe it, but I think my almost-never-cooks sister was the closest, with her guess of jicama. Char! I think you have an inner cook in there somewhere!

Maybe you've heard me rave about Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop. It's one of the cookbooks that sits on top of my microwave because I use it so often. It's organized by vegetable, with between 5 and 10 recipes per vegetable, and there are lots of veggies in there that I've never cooked before. The way it's organized, it really helps you to figure out how you're going to use some vegetable that you bought on impulse at the farmer's market and have no clue to how to cook. And, of course, it's a great aid for those of us who are trying to get more vegetables into our diets.

Most of the recipes, maybe all of them, are for side dishes, although of course you can turn any of them into a main dish meal. I have so many pages turned down in this book, it really qualifies to be called dog-eared.

So there I was one day with a bunch of radishes and no desire to eat them raw. I went to the book and found:
  • Braised Red Radishes
  • Roasted Radishes with Soy and Sesame Seeds
  • Radishes, Fennel, and Olives with Creamy Feta Cheese Spread
  • Sweet-and-Sour Radishes
  • Radish and Orange Salad with Paprika
  • Braised Daikon with Ginger and Soy
  • Shredded Daikon Salad with Sesame Seeds
I mean, who knew you could cook radishes in the first place, and then ... eight recipes???

The first one sounded good, with shallots and honey in the mix, so I gave it a try, and wow! It's amazing how much the pepperiness of the radishes is tamed by cooking them. Bishop expresses it best:
The flavor of cooked radishes is delicious. When braised, the white flesh turns light pink and the sharpness fades. What's left is pure radish flavor. This recipe is unexpectedly good.
Since then, the only other style I've tried is roasting them. I threw them in a pan with potatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, rosemary, and olive oil, and they turned out great. Nobody ever guesses what they are, even when you leave them whole, because they lose their color and because it's just so unexpected.

Other favorite recipes from the book are braised red cabbage with onions, and broccoli with spicy balsamic dressing and black olives. Note to self: blog these recipes too!

There are 350 recipes in this book, and I haven't hit one yet that I didn't care for. Of course, as a confirmed bell pepper hater (Jack Bishop: "They are bitter and have a strong vegetal flavor." and please don't bother trying to persuade me the brighter colors are better!), I've tended to stay away from those recipes or I wouldn't be able to say that!

Anyway, without further ado, here is the recipe. Comments in italics are my suggestions or modifications of the original recipe.

Braised Red Radishes
From Vegetables Every Day
Serves 4 as a side dish

20 medium radishes, with leaves, stems and rootlets removed (about 1 pound when trimmed)
1 T unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, minced (substitute minced onion if you don't have shallots on hand)
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 T honey
1 T minced fresh parsley leaves (optional, in my mind!)
  1. Unless very small, halve the radishes lengthwise from stem to root end (as you can see from my picture, I julienned mine).
  2. Reduce the stock by one half by simmering in a saucepan or the microwave.
  3. Melt the butter in a large lidded saute pan. Add the shallot and saute over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the radishes and stir-cook until well coated with butter, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the stock and honey, cover, and cook until the radishes are tender but not soft, about 10 minutes (a bit less, in my experience. Keep an eye on them). Remove the cover, season with salt to taste, and simmer to allow any juices in the pan to reduce to a glaze, about 1 minute. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.

Well, being as this is Friday and Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging is coming up, I think I'll submit this recipe to her event. If you'd like to see more veggie and herb based recipes, hop on over to her website to see the recap of all the recipes submitted to her. And if you try this recipe, please leave a comment letting me know what you thought of it!


Kalyn said...

Hey, you're probably going to send me this entry, but I found it already! I remember you told me about this book before and I still haven't gotten it. Ok, I'm order it!! The recipe sounds great.

Lynne said...

Yeah, I never would have guessed radishes!
It's a very pretty dish, too bad I'm allergic to the little suckers!

paz said...

I would have never guessed! They look delicious!


Eva said...

No way! Radishes. Huh. Cool.
Here's a comic mentioning radishes:

Stew said...

Really? You can cook and eat radishes? Go figure! I always thought they were just for decoration and rabbits! :-)

I'll take your word for it!

Cyndi said...

Thanks for the link to this - gotta give it a try! As for the "you might be interested in this" - if you click on the gray "LinkWithin" just below the pics, you can get your own little add on to do it for your blog, too. That's how I got mine when I saw it on someone else's blog.