braised radishes

by Stacy

In order to come back down from the sugar high caused by various holiday desserts, I needed some veggies in my life. Conveniently, I pick up a large amount of them every other week from my CSA, and I had some produce tucked in my crisper that had been forgotten about in a haze of cookies, tarts, and cake.

Digging through a borderline veggie dungeon of the fridge, the crisper drawer needed some culling. Wilted flat-leaf parsley? Compost. A grocery store lemon of questionable age? Compost. A bunch of radishes with semi-limp tops? Dinner.

Last time we got CSA radishes, I didn’t really know what to do with them, so I just snacked on them with some herb butter. They were fine — fresh and crunchy — but didn’t really get me excited. I’m not a huge raw veggie fan (According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, I have too much dampness in my body which cold and raw foods exacerbate. So there.). This time, I decided to cook them and see how that went. If nothing else, it would be different and warm.

Better than that, it was delicious.

I used D’Avignon radishes as that is what was in my fridge. This will work with any type of radish. All you need are your radishes, some butter, a shallot (or minced onion, or I actually used minced leeks) and some thyme, fresh or dried. A little white wine is optional. Salt and pepper, and you’re done!

Melt half the butter in a saucepan. Add the shallot and thyme. After a minute, add the radishes, salt, and enough water just to cover the radishes. Simmer 3-5 minutes until the radishes are tender. Remove the radishes the a serving dish.

braised radishes, no sauce

Add the remaining butter and boil the liquid to reduce it into a sauce. At this point, I added a little white wine (maybe 2-3 tablespoons) just to give the dish some oomph.

reducing sauce

Pour liquid over radishes before serving.

While a shallot would be lovely, I had a plethora of leeks left from the CSA and used that. A few tablespoons of minced onion would also be fine, I would just cook it a little longer to let it sweeten up a bit. While technically a side dish, I didn’t have as many radishes as the recipe called for, so I just ate the bowlful for dinner.

The radishes are tender and warm, losing that bit of bite they have raw, and accentuated nicely by the butter and thyme. The splash of wine helped brighten the flavor a bit though the original recipe didn’t call for it. The acid helped cut the richness of the butter. So if your food resolutions for the year include trying new foods or eating more vegetables, try radishes.

Braised Radishes

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients:
20 radishes
1-2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 shallot, diced
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme or several pinches of dried thyme
salt and pepper
optional: 2-3 tablespoons white wine

Directions:
1.) Remove leaves from the radishes, leaving just a bit of green stems, and reserve the leaves if they are in good condition. Scrub the radishes well. Leave small radishes whole, cut large ones in half.

2.) In a small saute pan, melt 2-3 teaspoons of butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add the radishes, a pinch of salt, and enough water to cover.

3.) Simmer until radishes are tender, 3-5 minutes. If using, add in radish leaves and cook 1 minute until wilted. Remove radishes to a serving dish.

4.) Bring liquid to a boil, adding wine (if using) and the rest of the butter. Reduce to about 1/4 cup. Pour over radishes, grind fresh pepper on top, and serve.

braised radishes

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