Radishes dominate the farmers' market each spring, and this year is no exception. Stacked high in almost every stall, in colors ranging from red to pink to white, they are hard to escape. But who would want to?
Bright and peppery, radishes are delicious all season, most often julienned and added to salads — I find they're prettier and easier to eat when cut into tiny slivers. Thinly sliced, placed atop buttered bread, and sprinkled with salt, radishes make a favorite late night snack.
Last night I was leafing through Amanda Hesser's Cooking for Mr. Latte, and the phrase "braised radishes with mint" caught my eye. There was no recipe, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. Braised lamb, braised pork, sure, but braised radishes with mint? Time to experiment. I put down the book and went into the kitchen.
Armed with my favorite chef's knife, Johnny Cash on the iPod, and fresh mint from my back porch, I was good to go.
This recipe would work without the shallot, but I put shallots, garlic or onion in just about everything. Shallots are the onion's mild-mannered, more polite cousin — their subtleties are a perfect fit for this dish. I deglazed the pan with champagne vinegar, giving the radishes a slightly pickled taste. If you don't like vinegar's zing, saute the radishes in butter and add only water to the pan.
The (pretty tasty) result of my efforts follows. This would be a great companion to grilled or roasted poultry or pork.
Braised Radishes with Mint
Serves 2-3 as a side dish
1 very large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large bunch of radishes, cut in half, quartered if large
2-3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons water
about 2 tablespoons of fresh mint, finely chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan. Add the minced shallot, a pinch of Kosher salt, and cook over medium-low heat until soft, 3-4 minutes. Turn up the heat a notch and add the radishes, cooking until lightly colored. Add the champagne vinegar and water, then cover the pan and cook on medium-low heat until the radishes are almost tender, about 12 minutes. Remove the lid and reduce any remaining liquid to a glaze. Shut off the heat and sprinkle with finely chopped mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste.