I don’t like radishes. Hate may be going too far but I have never once had a memorable encounter with one. They’re the food equivalent of chaperons at a high school dance, tolerated but not celebrated. The more they stay by the sidelines (whether in a salad or a gymnasium) the better.
But I saw a bunch of radishes the other day at the market, and there was something about their fuschia beauty and golf ball strength that got my attention. Their pink tails were sticking up in the air like a mouse halfway into a hole, their greens were emerald. I have about as much self control at a farmers market as I do when presented with a spoon and a pint of mint-chip ice cream, so with no more room in my bag and no idea what I’d ever do with them, I bought them. Some people are like this with shoes. I’m like this with vegetables.
Once home, I knew if I did what I’d always done (eat them whole or chop them up in big chunks into a salad) they’d soon find their way to the compost, so I tried something new – I fried them – ok sautéed them. In butter. A little salt. Transformed! They of course soften but they also loose their spicy heat and become something altogether different. It’s like when you see a side to someone that you’d never seen before and you wonder how you’d missed it.
Their picture is above. As you may have gathered from the last post, I’m going through a bit of a sauerkraut phase, so sauerkraut joined them. Apple (that also got sautéed) lent a sweet note to the ‘kraut and the lentils made it a full meal. See the how-to, here.
Having now changed my mind about the useless radish, I was on a tear to see what else I could do with them. Try this: slice them, broil them, salt them and you get “radish chips”. (Potato chips minus pretty much 100% of the calories. Toss them with a touch of olive oil pre-broil if you wish – which will add a few calories to this virtually calorie-less food.)
The next day I went back to sauteeing them, and added them to arugula. See the full recipe here.
I’m a big believer that the more foods we come to love, the more we want to cook and the more enjoyable it is to eat well. (Radishes, by the way, are high in Vitamin C, folic acid and potassium). This whole radish-second-chance thing made me think about all the foods I have detested over the years but come to love – and it’s not just a case of my taste buds growing up, my enduring love of Arrowroot cookies kills that theory …
A few more foods in the “I-hated-until” category:
- Kale until I had mild Red Russian, flash-sautéed with nothing more than olive oil and salt
- Sardines until I had them so off-the-boat-fresh they had zero fish smell or taste (oh and they were lightly breaded, and gently sautéed which, now that I think about it, may have had more to do with my love for them than their freshness)
- Sushi until I discover you could ask for extra ginger (Age twenty-three)
- Eggs until I had them scrambled with onions (Age twelve)
- Broccoli until it was served with cheese sauce (Age eight)
What have you hated until you loved it?
Another Outstanding Lentil Dish (Lentil Stew with Carrots and Mushrooms)
The Joy Of Bacteria (The health benefits of sauerkraut and other fermented foods)
Apple, Sage, Zucchini Omelet (Another dish where an apple adds a lot)
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