Ahhh, June. My favorite month of the year. Spring’s firmly entrenched and summer’s just arriving. It’s the month of my wedding anniversary, and my parents’. There’s fresh strawberry shortcake and Father’s Day. And radishes.
Yes, now is when huge, inexpensive bunches of gorgeous red-and-white radishes start crowding the shelves at the farmstand market, more picturesque than flowers and better because they’re so delicious. I like them best plain, icy cold from the fridge, dipped in coarse salt and cracked pepper. When I have them in such plentitude, I slice them over everything, serve them on crudités platters with dip, and spend time dreaming up salads just to highlight their special spicy crunch.
Farmstand Find: Radish (Raphanus sativus) ~ there are red, black, and white varieties; the latter is called daikon. Radishes are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. The name “radish” comes from the Latin radix, for “root.” The intensity of a radish’s flavor depends not only on its variety but also its age.
Buying: Look for small, firm radishes. Large radishes that give to gentle pressure are likely to be pithy inside.
Storing: Remove tops and store in an unsealed or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Serving: Radishes can be eaten raw, marinated, or cooked. If the tops are young and fresh, you can prepare them as you would fresh spinach or arugula. Peppery radish sprouts can be used to add flavor to sandwiches and salads.
Tip: Place raw radishes in a bowl of ice water for an hour prior to serving to crisp them up.
Keep reading after the jump to discover a recipe starring radishes and sweet oranges in an appetizer salad with Middle Eastern savor. If the taste of orange blossom water tends to be a bit strong for you, simply omit it.