In Season: Radish
Think twice before you overlook radish at the farmers market.
It's the time of year when new vegetables and fruits are coming into harvest each week. When the majority of food on your dinner table can and should be from one of your local farms. When frozen and canned vegetables should be outlawed.
To help you navagate the wonderful world of fresh, local cuisine, Newtown Patch this week is debuting "In Season." Food writer Colin Marsh will share his culinary wisdom about a fruit or vegetable currently in season and provide us with useful tips on preparation and recipes.
This week we start with the humble radish. Bon appetite!
Radish is an often-overlooked vegetable; usually relegated to a salad bowl or used as a garnish. But the humble radish, with its crisp texture, peppery flavor and unique red and white color, has much more to offer.
A cup of radish contains just about 20 calories, mainly from carbohydrates in the form of natural sugars. Radishes are rich in potassium, folic acid, and ascorbic acid. They are a great source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper and magnesium.
Radish is relatively quick and easy to grow, with some varieties reaching maturity in just 30 days. If you have a juicer, radish is a perfect addition to spice up the flavor a little. The vitamin C in radishes works an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It has been shown to improve asthma symptoms because of its anti-inflammatory properties. The high amount of potassium in radish can help lower your risk of kidney stones and strokes.
In North America, we commonly see only the red-skinned cherry belle type of radish available in supermarkets. However, local farmers markets are starting to fill the gap by offering a wider variety.
Locally, I have seen French Breakfast radish, with its distinctive elongated shape and white tip, as well as Watermelon radish, which has white skin and a deep red interior. Another variety, Daikon, looks like a cross between a parsnip and a turnip and is usually found at Asian markets. Peeled and sliced, Daikon is wonderful braised with a little soy sauce, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. The leaves are edible and are delicious when chopped and added to soups or even sautéed with a little garlic and olive oil.
Here is a recipe I make at home when an abundant amount radish is coming in from the garden. This recipe works great with smoked pork and grilled lamb.
12 oz radish (Make sure they are all the same size, cut if needed. About two bunches, trim off tops and roots but save the tops.)
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, thin sliced
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
½ tablespoon lemon juice
1½ tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Sea salt and white pepper
- Melt butter in a skillet
- Add onion and garlic, cover with a lid and cook until translucent.
- Add radishes, vegetable stock, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, a good pinch of sea salt, and a couple of grinds of white pepper.
- Cover the pan and bring to a boil.
- Once boiled, remove lid and turn down to a simmer
- Cook radishes 10 to 12 minutes. If the stock has not cooked away, remove radishes and cook down to ½ cup or until thickened, about two minutes.
- Add chopped parsley, re-season and serve as a side dish
Check back next week for another installment of "In Season," as food writer Colin Marsh helps us learn about the fruits and vegetables that are in season and how to use them to their full potential.