A new radish keeper

I can't stay for long today. I'm in Maine, sitting on my parents' couch. It's hot and sunny and beautiful, and Fisher's on his bed at my feet, filling the whole room with the smell of wet dog. He just went for a swim at Simpson's Point (the rest of us hardly got our toes in!) and in a little while, we're going to put a batch of pulled pork in the oven for my sister's birthday dinner. But I wanted to stop by, quickly, and remind you about the radishes.

I don't know if you took me up on any of those recommendations a few weeks back, but it's been a radish kind of spring around here. While the sun and the berries and the summer fruits take their sweet time, we've been experimenting with the cold weather crops all kinds of ways. The other day, I added a new radish keeper to my list: radishes washed, greens trimmed, and then greens and roots sautéed.


In the summer, I make a lot of sautés for lunch—usually heavy on the greens, sort of like warm green salads. Recently, I’ve been using radishes—greens and all. If you have extra radish greens (or other braising greens) kicking around, feel free to add them. The greens wilt down pretty significantly, so it’s hard to add too many. This recipe serves two.

2 bunches radishes, with greens
2 slices bacon
4 cloves garlic, minced
a handful of crumbled blue or gorgonzola cheese (I like to use the mozzarella with the gorgonzola dolce inside that Kathleen Kadlik sells at the Provincetown and Falmouth farmers' markets)
olive oil
two slices of rustic bread
1/2 lemon, cut into wedges

Trim the greens from the radishes, leaving about an inch of stem still attached to the bulbs. Wash and dry the greens and set aside. Scrub the radishes, trim their tails, and cut each one in half the long way. Set aside.

Warm up a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and fry for a few minutes on each side, until it’s done to your taste (I like mine crispy enough to crumble). Transfer the bacon to a plate to cool.

Add the radishes to the pan with the bacon grease and cook for 5-6 minutes over medium heat. When the radishes are soft and a little bit golden in spots, turn the heat down to low and add the garlic. (Add olive oil or a splash of water to the pan at any point if you feel you don’t have enough grease.) Stir well and throw in the greens. Stir again and cover immediately. Cook for a minute, then take off the lid and stir well. The greens should be just wilted.

Transfer the radishes and greens to two bowls. Crumble a slice of bacon over each, and sprinkle half of the cheese over each salad. Turn the heat back up to medium high under the cast-iron skillet, and fry the bread in olive oil until it’s golden brown on both sides. Either cut the bread into cubes and throw it on top of the greens or serve alongside as a slice. Garnish each bowl with a few lemon wedges, and squeeze the juice over top to taste.

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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.