Thursday, January 20, 2011

Radish Ravish

When we were kids, once a year Mum and Dad would carry us to the car at 4am and we would drive the six hours to see my grandparents in Wellington. I remember my very debonair grandfather dressed, as he usually did in a full suit and tie, digging up radishes from his garden and we would eat them dipped in Vegemite, a sticky, black, yeasty paste. Lost a few of you right there. You either love radishes or you don't and for the latter, I have a recipe using beetroot and salmon roe. Oops, lost some more people there...

You know the Idle Hostess is always looking for simple, doable and scrum dishes with which to dazzle her guests. I know, I know, bit weird to talk about myself in the third person, but also kinda fun.

Well, the other night at a fabulous birthday bash I found myself nibbling (doesn't that sounds more elegant than scoffing?) some divine canapes made by a friend Kyle, who is a personal chef. One canape had radishes and the other featured beets. Both recipes by Martha Stewart and pics from her website, but obviously Kyled a bit - and I'll bet the better for it. All ingredients can be bought at Berkeley Bowl.

Endive Boats with Marinated Vegetables:

Kyle: "With the veggies, we roasted the beets rather than boiling--makes them sweeter.  And added some tarragon to the vegetable mixture to just round it out and make it a bit more intriguing."

Idle Hostess: "The piece de resistance is the salmon roe (Ikura). It's the most delish thing, I promise you. Even my kids love it - it's pink, round, salty and pops in the mouth - what's not to love? I could see this recipe as a salad too, just chuck it all in together."

Ingredients (makes 36)

  • 1 small fresh beet, (about 3 ounces)

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled

  • 1/2 (about 8 ounces) bulb fennel, trimmed

  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/4 pounds (5 large heads) Belgian endive

  • 2 tablespoons salmon roe, (optional)

  • 2 teaspoons chopped chervil leaves

  • Directions

    1. Place beet and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a saucepan of water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; boil until beet is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and peel beet; grate on large holes on a box grater, and place in a bowl. Grate carrot; add to beets.
    2. Cut fennel into very thin 1/2-inch-long slivers; add to beets and carrots.
    3. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss with vegetables. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
    4. Trim endive, separating leaves. Reserve large leaves for another use. Fill lower half of small leaves with 1 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable mixture. Top with 1/8 teaspoon salmon roe, if using; garnish with chervil.

    Radish Canapes with Black Olive Butter:

    Kyle: "We used the watermelon radish and red radish to mix it up and get crazy.  In the butter, we added  some capers and lemon zest to make it pop a bit more than the original.

    Idle Hostess: "The radish crunch freshens the palate for the meal. Kyle's use of watermelon radishes makes it  pink and red and prettier than the stock pics above, but my on-the-night pics were horrible - it's so hard to photograph food! - so you'll have to imagine it."

    Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 16 oil-cured black olives, pitted and finely chopped

  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced crosswise and toasted

  • 4 red radishes

  • Directions

    Mix olives, scallions, mint, and butter in a bowl. Season with pepper. Spread olive butter onto each baguette slice. Thinly slice radishes. Layer 2 or 3 slices on top of each canape.

    Next time: Kyle's own invention: a "Dino" Kale (whatever that is, we'll find out!) Caesar salad. "Much more interesting than that old Romaine and more seasonal" Kyle reckons.


    1. Looks delicious. I now have a craving for ikura and vegemite - though not together of course!

    2. Oh my dear...thank you so much for reminding me of my love affair with the radish. I was when I read it. My grandmother used to grow radishes in her palatial garden and we'd pick them, fresh as berries, and eat them over the sink with just a little salt...A delicious memory...

    3. Yay! I can communicate with you now! I'm not trying to make you feel bad, but I use Mozilla Firefox, so I could not comment this morning.

      I used to love radish too. I don't think I've had it in 17 yrs since I moved to the U.S.

      Thanks so much for following me. I am your newest follower.
      I will definitely be back!


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