What’s crispy-tender and slightly-sweet? My version of roasted radishes! Enjoy them as a healthy snack, or serve them as a side dish. You can even turn them into sexy, seasonal Crostini, just as I did last night.
Would you believe that I ate over 4 pounds of radishes in order to come up with this recipe? ‘Tis true. I had to experiment with different marinating formulas and roasting temperatures and times. And this version, which includes honey, lemon, and thyme, is my absolute favorite.
Before we proceed to the step-by-step recipe, let me share this poem by reader Mary Farrell (a/k/a “Mary in Iowa”). Mary tried the roasted radishes, and discovered she loved them:
Ode to the Lowly Radish
For radishes, my friends, I do not care
Pungent and fiery, they’re not tasty fare.
So why do I plant them every year,
When even the rabbits sniff them and sneer?
They save the space for warmth loving things;
Peppers, tomatoes, or beans without strings.
Now what does one do with all those red globes?
Toss in the compost to feed soil microbes?
Oh, no, my dear ones, you mix them to rhyme
With lemon and honey, olive oil and thyme.
Pour all in a pan and put them to roast,
Then serve them on top of ricotta on toast.
And they’re so delicious right down to the core,
That I’m thinking next spring I might plant even more!
Note: Although radish greens aren’t needed for this recipe, you can certainly saute them in oil and garlic as another side dish.
As they cook, the radishes will exchange their sharp, peppery bite for something sweet, mellow, and totally awesome.
Now, if you’d like to make Radish Crostini — and I hope you will — just proceed as follows:
Radish Crostini is irresistible. I ate the entire batch. And then I made another batch, and delivered it to Brenda Johnson, my taste-tester. Brenda’s eyes rolled upward as she ate the pretty morsels. And no wonder! Radish Crostini is what the angels eat during cocktail-hour in heaven.
I hope, this spring, that you will plant radishes (only 30 days from seed to harvest!) or obtain them from your CSA or farmers’ market. Roasted with honey, lemon, and thyme, the humble vegetable seems to achieve its full, glamorous potential.
Here, for your convenience, is a copy-and-paste version of the above:
Roasted Radishes with Honey, Lemon, and Thyme
Kevin Lee Jacobs
Ingredients for at least 4 servings
25-30 radishes (about 1 1/2 pounds), washed and blotted dry in a kitchen towel
A generous tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon local honey
1 tablespoon kosher salt, and several grinds black pepper
The grated zest of 1 lemon
The juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
For Radish Crostini: Toasted slices of a crusty French baguette; ricotta cheese, and dried thyme leaves
Cut off the green radish stems, but keep the “tails” in place. Slice the globes lengthwise in half. To make neat wedges for Crostini, cut the halves lengthwise in half.
Put the radish pieces in a large bowl, and add the olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, the lemon zest and juice, and thyme. Toss with a spatula.
While the radishes marinate, center the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 450°F.
Pour the radishes and all of their liquids onto a large baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven until the radishes are tender-crisp when pierced with a small knife, the red skins have blistered, and most (if not all) of the lemon juice has evaporated from the baking sheet — 22-26 minutes.
Serve hot or warm as a snack of side dish.
To make Radish Crostini, simply spread a thick layer of ricotta cheese onto each toasted slice of baguette. Top with 3 radish wedges and a light sprinkling of dried thyme leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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