The Humble Radish: Give Them a Second Chance

April 6, 2014

When was the last time you ate a radish?

Be honest.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Maybe since, like, childhood?

Last Spring, I served a plate of plump, scarlet radishes with a slab of unsalted butter and a dish of cracked sea salt as an appetizer. People were dumbfounded. They looked at the platter like I’d served up a mound of sweaty gym socks.

“Are those…radishes?”

“I can’t even tell you the last time I ate a radish.”

“I never even think about radishes.”

“What’s with the butter?”

I explained that the French eat radishes this way; dunk the radish in some lovely butter, sprinkle on a little salt, and eat.  Sometimes the French slice a crisp baguette, smear on a healthy layer of butter and top with thin slices of radish and a dusting of salt–and it’s great served that way–but I was too lazy to bother with the bread and plus, we are still on Le Regime.*

Yes, I am often guilty of being a lazy hostess. So stone me.

I guess I’m also an inconsiderate hostess, because I didn’t serve bread or anything else for an appetizer, so my hungry guests didn’t have any option but to try the radishes. Like a schoolyard bully, I stood, arms crossed, staring them down, daring them to reject the radishes.

“What? You’re afraid of something that’s teeny and pink, for Chrissakes?”

Much to my satisfaction, my terrorized guests consumed the radishes and declared them a delicious surprise.

If the idea of a radish gives you a flashback to a large, woody, overly pungent, bulbous thing, then I’m betting you faced off with a winter radish. An old, overgrown winter radish. And if that’s the case, I don’t question your trauma at all. Those radishes are, indeed, a little frightening.

Radishes are best in spring and summer, when they’re tiny, crisp, mildly tangy bundles of joy. Truly. I know you’re suspicious, but trust me on this one. They add beautiful color and a little zing to a dish.

This dish, specifically. This recipe is spring on a plate. It makes a delightful side to your favorite grilled meat or, if paired with a bit of bauguette, a lovely vegetarian lunch.

Come on. I dare you.


Pea and Radish Salad with Goat Cheese

serves 4

slightly adapted from Bon Appetit magazine


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon hazelnut or walnut oil

1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (you can substitute 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar if you wish)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper


1 cup frozen peas (or you can use fresh if you can find them)

1 cup fresh or frozen shelled edamame

1 cup sugar snap peas, stringed

1 1/2 cups butter lettuce or baby spinach, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

1/3 cup radishes, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 (6-ounce) package fresh goat cheese, crumbled (crumble it yourself rather than buying the pre-crumbled kind; it makes a difference)

1/4 cup toasted walnuts or hazlenuts (depending on the oil you used in the dressing), coarsely chopped

Fill a large bowl with cold water and add a few handfuls of ice; place radishes in ice bath and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook frozen peas 1-2 minutes (4 minutes for fresh shelled peas); remove with a slotted spoon and place in the ice bath with the radishes. Cook edamame in the same boiling water for 4 minutes; strain and add to the ice bath. Add snap peas and cook for 1 minute; remove and place in ice bath.  Stir vegetables until cool. Drain the cooled vegetables thoroughly and transfer to a large salad bowl.

Add torn butter lettuce/spinach to salad bowl and toss with dressing. Add crumbled goat cheese and toasted nuts and toss lightly again. Serve.


*Yeah, we’re still kinda on Le Regime. With all of this concussion business and being sick with the Plague, Le Regime got de-railed a bit. Expect some sexy spring veggie dishes in the coming month!

PS: I leave for the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Conference on Wednesday–wish me luck!

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie April 6, 2014 at 9:28 am

You made radishes sound appetizing! It’s official, you can do anything ;)


Justine April 6, 2014 at 10:52 am

I LOVE radishes! I will eat them with a fox, I will eat them in a box. You get the idea. And this recipe makes my heart happy since I love every vegetable in it. Like it’s created just for me! :)


Shannon April 6, 2014 at 11:14 am

I’m guilty. I haven’t eaten a radish in years. We use to grow them when we lived in Kentucky and the kids loved them.
I can’t wait to see you at Erma. I’ll be getting in on Thursday late afternoon!


Dana Talusani April 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm


I arrive early Wednesday evening, so I’ll be looking for you!


nikkiana April 6, 2014 at 3:25 pm

You know… That’s true. I probably haven’t had a radish since childhood. I can’t remember loving them, but I didn’t mind them as much as other veggies either…


Dana Talusani April 7, 2014 at 7:31 am


My Dad was addicted to radishes so we always had them in the refrigerator. Looking back on it, it was sorta weird!


elizabeth April 6, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I’m a huge fan of the radish slaw on tacos and roast beef sandwiches, because it’s such a wonderful, crunchy contrast to that richness.

I should also note that I had a bunch of pickled daikon radish for dinner just now to go with some Korean-style fried chicken. Radishes are awesome, and I bet they are absolutely sensational with goat cheese.


Dana Talusani April 7, 2014 at 7:32 am


Korean-style fried chicken? Oh. My. God.


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me April 6, 2014 at 5:54 pm

I just had radishes yesterday on my avocado toast for breakfast – awesome. I love them – kind of rediscovered them when we signed up for the CSA last year. Zilla and I love the butter and salt appetizer. We’ve also had them braised – who would’ve thought THAT was delicious? It is. My Grandfather absolutely loved radishes – would eat them as-is with a bit of salt and pepper on them.

Here’s a nifty one – last year I read something somewhere when I was digging for home remedy for a cold or something and found that radishes are supposed to be good for upper respiratory health. Turns out they are – it’s kind of amazing. I often have a radish and berry and kale smoothie in the morning just because I love them, but they are especially helpful when I am feeling congested. No joke – they taste awesome.

I am sure the radishes would be great with goat cheese and spring peas – so trying this.


Dana Talusani April 7, 2014 at 7:33 am


Radish in a smoothie? Whaa? I’m a big fan of avocado toast, too. It’s so good!


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me April 8, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Not even kidding – and it’s actually really good. I tried to send you this pin, but I got a snarky message from Pinterest saying something about being blocked by spam robots. Whatever.

Here’s the pin for the original one I found…

But many morning, the Fab Hub makes me his own version with Greek yogurt, frozen berries, kale, tart cherry-pomegranate juice, flax or chia seeds, and radishes. It has become my go-to morning favorite.


Kim Jorgensen Gane April 6, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Gorgeous! I grew up eating fresh young radishes out of my grandpa’s garden. DELISH! And this salad looks gorgeous! Do in’ it!


Katrina Kenison April 6, 2014 at 6:53 pm

This is my kind of food. (Nervy appetizer, though.) I love radishes and always had them in my garden, beautiful easter egg radishes in all sorts of pink and purple hues. As soon as the the ground thaws in NH (where there’s still snow, by the way), I’ll make this salad. Nice photo!


Dana Talusani April 7, 2014 at 7:34 am


It was a nervy appetizer! Lazy, too :)


Debbie April 6, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Nothing better than radishes from the garden!


Kel April 7, 2014 at 6:54 am

My grandparents used to have “celery and radishes” before dinner almost every night. Now, sometimes it really was just celery with some peanut butter or cheese on it, and radishes with salt for dipping (no butter, though – dang it!). Other times, when family was in town, cheese and crackers appeared, and other little munchies. But no matter what was on the table, it was still called “celery and radishes”.

Thank you for bringing that smile of a memory back to me this morning. I needed it.

Now I am off to add radishes to my grocery list.


Dana Talusani April 7, 2014 at 7:35 am


How funny that it was always “celery and radishes” even if it wasn’t at all!


Barbara April 7, 2014 at 8:01 am

Not afraid at all. Used to grow them in my garden….nothing tastier than a fresh radish sandwich. Or just a warm one with salt,. And, I even have posted a recipe for cooked radishes with potatoes. I swear, you’d never know it was a radish. Best salad I’ve had in ages.
Hope you’re back in good health and have a super time at the conference!


Dana Talusani April 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm


Must know more about a radish sandwich!


Erica April 7, 2014 at 9:06 am

I like radishes but don’t eat them often because they make my stomach hurt. Now I want to try them with butter and salt! My husband LOVES radishes and I groan every time I see him reach for them in the grocery store because they make him so gassy that I have to leave the room.


Dana Talusani April 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm


Alas, Daddy’s radish fetish did make him farty.


Privilege of Parenting April 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Hi Dana, Happy Spring! When I think of radishes I mostly think of waiting for the Mexican take-out to be ready, the authentic local stuff we’ve had every Tuesday for 20 years, eating them raw and alone from the little bin next to the jalapenos… challenging, and healthy in that you might want to stay away I had garlic sort of way. Baguettes with salt and butter sound halfway between high tea and Provence. I look forward to trying it. Mostly just hoping you and yours are exceedingly well. Hugs


S in AK April 7, 2014 at 11:11 pm

I like home-grown radishes but too often, the CSA box sticks me with the winter radishes. I once hosted a tea party baby shower and these radish sandwiches were part of the menu:


Sherri April 8, 2014 at 5:00 am

I love radishes…. my mom did them right… did all veggies right really. I’m better for it :). Good luck with the regime and happy spring!


Pamela April 8, 2014 at 5:13 am

This looks delicious. I am making it today!


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes April 8, 2014 at 5:46 am

Hah! I ate radishes only last week, slightly braised, in a salad with salmon.
I adore radishes so much that I even grow my own… or try to, the stupid cat keeps digging up the seeds..


Biz April 10, 2014 at 11:58 am

Radishes and cucumbers were my go to veggie growing up – I HATED cooked veggies. Um, turns out my Mom just overcooked them! I tried broccoli in a stir fry place in my early 30’s that was crisp tender and I fell in love with veggies again!

I am the only one who likes radishes, but now I’ve just put them on the grocery list.

Good luck at the conference – you’ll do great!


Tiffany April 15, 2014 at 3:42 pm

This actually looks really good and something different to try!


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