Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Roasted radishes on crostini with bagna cauda

Have you tried roasted radishes yet? Simply delicious. Unlike crisp and pungent raw radishes, roasted radishes are sweet and mellow. They make a wonderful side dish or light snack on crusty bread. Who knew radishes could have two strikingly different personalities like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Lately I seem to regularly get a bunch or two of radishes in my CSA box. Continuing with my research about the nutritional value of things I eat, I recently learned that radishes are rich in asorbic acid, folic acid and potassium and are a good source for Vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, cooper and calcium.

At a dinner party celebrating Spring a couple years ago, I sliced up beautiful French breakfast radishes at the beloved Green City market, bathed them in vegetarian bagna cauda and served with crusty bread. The crisp, raw radishes complemented the pungent, savory bagna cauda.

Now that roasted radishes are appearing all over menus, I pan roasted radishes in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with warm (vegetarian) bagna cauda made of butter, loads of garlic, crushed red pepper, capers and kalamata olives (instead of anchovies). For an appetizer you could spoon the bagna cauda onto crusty toasted bread, arrange radish wedges on top, and spoon additional bagna cauda on top, garnishing with thyme or parsley.

Elegant, while satisfying my craving for savoriness!

Alternatively, try pan roasted radishes in a single layer in olive oil simply seasoned with salt and pepper. Or pan roast with thinly sliced shallots, season with salt and pepper, top with fresh thyme and maybe crumbled French feta. For a slightly sweeter version, pan roast, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Roasted radishes with bagna cauda

1 bunch radishes, stems and tails trimmed, large radishes sliced lengthwise into sixths and smaller radishes sliced lengthwise into quarters
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp kalamata olives, pitted and minced
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and crushed with back of a spoon
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
optional 8 thin slices crusty bread, toasted
for garnish 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped or 1tbsp parsley, chopped

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for two minutes. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and arrange radishes in a single layer, cut side down. Do not crowd the radishes. Season with salt and pepper, cook without moving until light brown, about 3 minutes. Shake the skillet and continue cooking until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.

In a small skillet over low heat, add olive oil, crushed red pepper, crushed garlic, kalamata olives, and capers. Slowly cook for 8-10 minutes. The garlic should fall apart but do not let it brown. 

If using bread: Brush each slice of toast with sauce and top with radish wedges. Spoon additional sauce on top. Garnish with fresh thyme or parsley.

Otherwise: Arrange radishes in a serving bowl and pour sauce on top. Garnish with thyme or parsley.

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