Figuring out how to cook with exotic foods
Now radishes can hardly be considered “exotic” in the traditional sense, but they’ve always intimidated me and I’ve never cooked with them. It seems as if I have an innate fear of vegetables with tentacles. (See my brave breakdown of kohlrabi for further evidence.) Despite their other-worldly appearance, it turns out they aren’t so hard to love after all. For those of you equally in the dark about radishes as I am, they’re a root vegetable that varies in size, shape, color and even taste. They’re known for their crisp texture and tendency to pack a spicy, sharp flavor. Here are five easy ways to start incorporating radishes into your daily life:
1. Eat Them Raw
Imagine that, eating a vegetable raw! I’m all about low-prep snacks, and all you’ve got to do to make fresh radishes stomach-ready is wash, trim, and slice them. You’ve probably seen radishes sliced up in salads and sandwiches, but Real Simple hit the nail on the head with their ricotta and extra-virgin olive oil dipping mixture. Earthy and sweet all at once!
2. Bake Them Into Chips
If you can make chips out of potatoes, why not radishes? Pinch of Yum blogger Lindsay, a self-proclaimed radish non-enthusiast, swears by her cinnamon sugar radish chips, and they’re not horribly difficult to make either. All you do is slice up the veggie, microwave to soften it up, coat the slices in olive oil, honey and cinnamon sugar (or saltier spices if that’s your jam), then bake. Unexpectedly delicious.
3. Braise Them
This marks not only my first time cooking with radishes, but also my first time actually understanding what it means to “braise” something. (Don’t judge. I eat a lot of sandwiches.) Thankfully, the process proves to be pretty simple, too: just simmer the radishes in water, butter, sugar, salt, and pepper until you reach your desired tenderness. Braised radishes certainly won’t fill you up, but they make for a great side dish or light snack. Thanks again, Real Simple.
4. Pickle Them
This one requires more ingredients than I’ve got lying around, but the trip to the grocery store is the hardest part of the pickling process. Simply combine your non-radish ingredients in a saucepan and slice up your vegetables while they simmer. Let the mixture cool, then pour into a jar with your radishes. Make sure to eat them within five days! Check out the full recipe from Chow.
5. Carve Them Into Flowers
Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly “cooking” with radishes, but you can still eat them once they’re carved. Take a look at Mutita Edible Art’s instructional video on how to make these vegetables into roses. They look great as garnishes on everything from salads to entrees to cupcakes!
Meredith Clarke was an Edible FLX intern. Follow her column, What Am I Supposed To Do With This?, and learn about cooking alongside her!