Radishes - Mellowing the Kick & a vinaigrette recipe

Spring is prime season for radishes. I know, because we run a market garden business in our backyard and there are radishes a plenty. 

Radishes are one of the most beautiful vegetables. French radishes in particular are literally awesome with their intense, seemingly impossible magenta pink tips. 

 A skillet full of French radishes, the spiciest variety. 

A skillet full of French radishes, the spiciest variety. 

But my problem, they are so dang spicy! For some people (like my husband), this is their winning quality. But for me on the other hand...not so much. I actually had to make a frank confession to my husband (who grows these, mind you): "I don't like radishes."

All of me wants to love them. Again, their beauty! That pink! Their darling size! One can't help marveling at them. If I could only get around their spicy kick.

Luckily, it's possible, as I've rediscovered this spring. That can be done in three ways. 

One:  

Eat them really, really early in the season when they are mild and refreshing. Once the heat starts to ramp up, though, so does their kick. 

two:

Peel their skins, a pro tip I gleaned from this cookbook. Like hot peppers where the spice is concentrated in a single place (the pith & seeds), radishes pack their punch into their skins. 

three:

Cook them! Seriously, this mellows out the spice big time. With just a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper, and some heat, radishes become transformed. Try them sauteed, roasted, or grilled until tender. Sadly, cooking dims their brilliant color, but one can still relish their beauty while prepping them!

 Roasted radishes & asparagus, tossed with some honey citrus vinaigrette (recipe below).

Roasted radishes & asparagus, tossed with some honey citrus vinaigrette (recipe below).

honey citrus vinaigrette

Makes 1 1/2 cups. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 tbs. honey
  • 1 tbs. Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Zest all the citrus into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. 
  2. Halve each citrus and squeeze the juice out until it reaches 2/3 cup. (Make sure to get all three in there.) Discard any seeds.
  3. Whisk in honey, vinegar, 1 tsp salt, and a good few grinds of pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
  4. Whisk in olive oil a bit at a time or run mixture in a food processor/blender and drizzle oil in while running. Mix until creamy and emulsified.
  5. Use right away, or store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe adapted from Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables.