Monday, May 24, 2010

Radish for your thoughts

Ahhh radishes. Is there anything tastier than the first radishes of the season? Well, how about the radish TOPS? That's right. You can eat'em.

Raw in salads is an option, but frankly, I find them too picky for that. Cooked though? They lose all their pickiness when cooked. Not a fan of cooked greens by themselves, I do like them in other things. Sliced and simmered in soup (not as slimy as spinach and have an interesting meaty texture). Creamed in a sauce (over smashed potatoes....heaven!). Excellent in a cheesy quiche.
But for something simple and satisfying, pureed soup is the ticket. Green soup. Soup as green as spring. How can a person be depressed looking at such a bright green? Add some fresh crusty bread and good butter, and man oh man you got nirvana. Top that bread and butter with thinly sliced radishes and a pinch of salt and it just might be too much to handle. And just think. You were going to toss those leaves in the compost bin.
I use a recipe that abounds on the internet:
Sweat an onion in butter until translucent (I add a bit of olive oil to keep the butter from burning, and if you have a couple of bunches of spring onions, that is even better than the diced onion). Wash your radish tops well (they are usually quite gritty) and pick out any withered or excessively insect damaged leaves. A few flea beetle holes are fine. I chop through the pile a couple of times just to get smaller pieces, but it really isn't necessary.
Add the leaves to the onion, and stir. Allow to cook and steam a bit until the leaves wilt (it doesn't take long, and soon the gigantic pile looks like almost nothing). You can add some diced potato now. Add four cups of chicken or vegetable broth.
Bring to a simmer, and simmer until everything is tender. I usually skip the raw potato and add leftover mashed potatoes at this time. Stir to distribute and bring up to temperature with the rest of the ingredients - it makes for a better texture. Let cool a bit and blend in batches until smooth. Place back in the pot, and bring back up to temperature. You can add some cream now, but I prefer to leave it out and add it to my bowl. It reheats better this way. Taste for seasoning.

It kind of reminds me of cream of spinach mixed with cream of broccoli, with a slight bitter edge (the cream tames most of this bitterness). You can add cream or milk, I have used soy milk, soy creamer, and unsweetened almond milk and all were good. I bet sour cream would be good for a tangier version, maybe mixed with some sorrel?

For a sweeter soup I could forsee adding some fresh or frozen peas to the mix. To make it milder, some spinach or other greens. Why not toss in whatever veggies you have on hand? Maybe some herbs? A good base to be tinkered with, I do believe.

1 comment:

Rainy Daisy said...

This is brilliant - thank you! I really want to like radishes, but I'm afraid I'll buy them and hate them. Time to put on my big-girl apron and give this recipe a shot, I think!

Cheers!
Daisy