May 12, 2010

The Sweetest Radishes

When I think of radishes....I think spring and salad bars.  There's nothing like that crunchy peppery bite on crusty bread with some good butter and flaked sea salt.  I also like them dipped in some creamy hummus.  Yum!  It's not often you see them in cooked dishes, but this one is a must try.

If you ever wondered where these little gems came from, this will enlighten you...Radishes are a member of the cabbage family, related to mustard, with the name radish coming from the Latin word radix, or root, representing the part that is eaten. Radishes date back to approximately 500 B.C.E. in China and 1000 C.E. in Japan, with remains of radishes discovered in excavations of ancient Egypt dating back to nearly 3000 B.C.E There are three basic kinds of radishes: red globe, the prototypical red radish; Easter egg, which grow in aesthetically pleasing red, magenta and white bunches; and daikon, long white radishes with a Japanese name.

Those of you who are familiar with this salad bar staple, will be surprised to find how a quick braise with some butter and sugar can transform these little red gems to a side dish that you can't get enough of.  I think that this quick and easy sweet treat will become a family favorite in your house as it is in mine.  

Note:  They are also really good roasted, but I'll save that for another blog.  

The Sweetest Radishes
2-4 servings ( these are so good you may want to double the recipe)


2 bunches radishes, about 1 pound, trimmed of tops and root, small ones left whole, medium ones cut in half, large ones cut into quarters
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp butter, diced
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp salt and pepper each


Place radishes in a skillet with water, butter, sugar, vinegar and salt and pepper.  Cover the pan and bring to a boil.  Uncover the pan and reduce heat to medium.  Cook the radishes for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the water has cooked away and you are left with rosy tender radishes swimming in a sweet light syrup waiting to be indulged.   

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