Despite global cultivation, there is something uniquely satisfying and primal about eating foods in sync with their natural rhythm. These days it’s easier than ever to — ping — oops…excuse me… (it’s a Tweet from the Kerrytown Farmers Market). Hmm…the farmers are selling tiny strawberries, radishes, beautiful peonies and beet greens as I write these very words.
I apologize for the interruption. As I was saying, these days it’s easier than ever to… hey, I wonder what seasonal local goodies The Produce Station is carrying. A smartphone clickety-click and voila: Today’s produce market update unveils a fresh picked harvest of Michigan asparagus and Michigan wild ramps.
Pardon my transgressions, and say what you will about social media and its contribution to attention malfunctions. But you have to admit, without much effort on my part, technology makes foraging for seasonal, local ingredients a cinch. Consider the radish, which has my attention today.
It’s easy to take this root vegetable for granted. The red globe radishes are as ubiquitous as iceberg lettuce and may be found year round in every produce department in America. It’s hard to imagine life without those crisp, crunchy and peppery jewels. But this is the season Michigan radishes shine.
They often may be found in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors at the Farmers Market. Their natural goodness can be appreciated with simply a rinse and bit of coarse salt. Or slice them thin and layer atop a buttered piece of your favorite bread — the addition of anchovy or chopped herbs would be a bonus. Julienne large radishes and add them to your favorite green or grain salad recipes.
Fresh radishes pose a number of ways to liven up your menu. But when was the last time you cooked a radish? I present to you a recipe, courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine, where the radish puts on the glam and strolls uptown. Sauteed radishes combined with fresh tarragon, Dijon and wine delivers a marvelous sophisticated flavor much appreciated by ones beleaguered pursestrings.
Who knew radishes were so exquisite when cooked? They lose some of their pepperiness and their flavor is sweet, with a resonance and texture akin to a mild roasted turnip. It’s an altogether new flavor, and your guests may wonder what delicious morsel they are, in fact, eating.
This is a recipe that elevates the ravishing radish to a status she so richly deserves. It’s perfect accessorized with angel hair pasta or basmati rice.
(The following recipe was adapted from the Bon Appetit, April, 2011 magazine.)