Farmers Market Find: Radishes

I am a local chef who enjoys wandering around Farmers Markets in search a beautiful seasonal ingredients. My blog will hopefully demystify them and give you a few ideas and recipes for your table.

Radishes. Just thinking of them sends a message to my brain that tingles my tongue. Crisp, peppery and delicious. Radishes are usually the first thing I pick up on a crudité platter, if present. There is just something so appealing about them for me. I love eating them raw, but best eaten in combination with something like a fresh lemony-yogurt dip or even in a slaw.

By all accounts radishes have been around for thousands of years. Some food historians believe they were first cultivated in China, and made their way to Egypt and Greece. By the mid 1500’s they were in England and then off to the Americas. By about the 1600’s they were being grown on this side of the Atlantic, and the rest as they say, is history.

Radishes are root vegetables that can be eaten raw, braised or even roasted. They grow very quickly, which is a good thing for radish lovers everywhere!

Keep a few things in mind when purchasing your radishes at the market. You want the leaves to look fresh and bright. The root or radish end should be smooth, firm and intact. Put them back if they are soft, cracked or have black spots.

Once you get them home remove the leaves. If the leaves are nice and fresh go ahead and add them to your salad, or even sauté them a bit. After you remove the leaves place the radishes in a perforated plastic bag and into the ‘fridge they go. Most varieties will last for up to two weeks. That is of course never happens at our house!

Last weekend I picked up some lovely French Breakfast radishes from the Madura Farm table at the Chappaqua Farmers Market. The Easter Egg variety, you see on the right, were purchased at Tarry Market. I also had a bunch of Cherry Belles, the basic variety you find in the produce aisle too. I had a lot of fun testing, and eating, radishes this week!

A few days ago, on my weekly trip to Port Chester Seafood, I spotted some beautiful soft shell crabs in the case. (Another sign that Winter moving fast behind us.) These yummy little crabs make an appearance at the market in the Spring too – and are just so delicious. With a few other ingredients already in my ‘fridge I was inspired to make a super simple slaw to top my sautéed crabs.

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Renea Henry April 19, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Roasted radishes? What kinds of food would be complemented by that?
Maria Reina April 20, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Almost anything, but I think they would be wonderful with roasted or rotisserie chicken or even a roasted or grilled fish. After you roast the radishes toss them with a little butter and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.


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