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The Problem of the Radish

02 Feb

One of the mixed blessings of belonging to a CSA is that you get all sorts of produce that you might not normally buy for yourself. This means that you get to try new things but also that you occasionally receive items that you don’t like so much.
 
Take last week’s box, which contained radishes. I’ve never liked radishes, their bitterness marring my salad experiences. I’ve actually never been one for the bitter section of the palate, trading sweetarts for chocolate at any opportunity. Even in chocolate, I prefer a nice dark but smooth blend of about 60%. Bitter coffee, bitter chocolates, bitter vegetables-these I do not enjoy.
 
So what to do with these radishes? I hate to waste food, and it was too late to substitute something else. The small red bunch arrived in the box, looking up at me, daring me to enjoy them.
 
And then, my food blog obsession saved the day. Linking through post upon post I discovered that versatile site The Kitchn of Apartment Therapy had posted this recipe for braised radishes. Braised? You mean, you can cook them?
 
Now, I had already discovered that the dark leafy greens which I used to turn my nose up at were in fact the greatest thing to happen to my soups in a long time. Cooking these greens mellowed their bitterness but retained good flavor, and suddenly kale and chard were my new favorite vegetables. But could cooking the radishes have the same transformative effect?
 
I was making butternut squash gnocchi for dinner, so while the squash baked, I went to work on the radishes. Onions were sauteed, radishes were placed in the pan, balsamic vinegar and homemade chicken stock were poured in (yes, that’s homemade chicken stock, I’ve become a real cook at last). The cover was placed on the simmering vegetables and the timer set.
 
When Jer sat down to his dinner, he found a plate of gnocchi in parmesan bechamel sauce and a pile of unidentified light pink vegetables. Taking a bite, he had to ask what they were, and was rather incredulous when I told him they were radishes. Turns out he was never a big fan of them either, but you couldn’t tell by the way they disappeared off his plate.
 
Final verdict? If you think you don’t like a vegetables, try it cooked: either roasted, braised, or in a soup. You will find that flavors mellow and deepen, and items you never thought would grace your shelves will become pantry staples. This recipe is proof, because now I can say I like radishes.

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Posted by on February 2, 2010 in Things Edible

 

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