Tuesday, April 12, 2011
French Breakfast Radishes :: Spicy Little Things!
Les radis petit déjeuner... in English: Breakfast radishes. I've read that French Breakfast radishes are not near as spicy as some. I guess I haven't tried very many really spicy varieties because these ones had quite a kick in my opinion - more like that feeling that hollow stinging sensation that wasabi gives your sinuses, rather than a hot sauce that just gets your tongue. The French often eat them halved and raw, with butter and salt. Their crispy texture lend nicely to salads too, or eaten as themselves. Radishes are beautiful, especially the two toned varieties such as these - it's like a paint brush has gently dabbed the ends.
I think its worth noting that when seeking uses for special items such as French Breakfast radishes looking to other cultures for guidance is important. It is likely that my view of lovely vegetables such as these has been tainted by my long time American "super market" mindset. The first thing that comes to mind when I see the word "radish" is "salad." Radishes in salads are really quite nice, but you will do a mighty injustice to this fantastic root if that is all they are used for. I've read that goat cheese is quite nice spread over halved radishes, sprinkled with bits of black olive. Slices layered atop bread, butter sea salt and parsley are also a fantastic way to have these.
I can just imagine strolling along a European marketplace in the spring, bunches of radishes overflowing from market stands. It will be lovely to experiment with breakfast, given the addition of these wonderful little roots.
Les beaux petits chéris...
Nutrition: Radishes are rich in ascorbic acid, folic acid, and potassium and are a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, and calcium. We need to eat more of these! The greens are also completely edible and actually have a sweet flavor with a nice texture and crunch. Tops should be eaten in the first day or so, before they wilt.