Monday, July 11, 2005

The ravishing radish

Radishes: A woodcut Posted by Picasa

So I had a funny experience regarding radishes.

I'm a regular poster on Chowhound, a discussion board for people who love food in all its forms. A while back, I posted something on Chowhound about the benefits of farm shares (CSAs). A few weeks later I got an email from a Wall Street Journal reporter asking me if I would be willing to talk to her about my experiences.

Now, I'm not very comfortable with the idea of my name being in the paper. Fools' names and fools' faces are often seen in public places, and all that. Also, I get stagefright so badly even a metaphoric stage will set it off. But I believe deeply in supporting local farmers, so I decided that I really should not be such a wimp about something so trivial and should just call the woman and talk to her.

So I called her and talked for a long time about my experiences with the farm share. I stressed the importance of supporting local farming, the value of eating with the seasons. I talked about the sense of comraderie among the people in line to get their weekly boxes, the community that was being built. I talked about the quality of the produce, the heirloom varieties that had been bred for quality of flavor and texture, rather than the ability to be stored and shipped.

She didn't want a quote on any of that. From the article which appeared in the Journal:

And if the farm's strawberry crop is a bust, but there's a bumper crop of kale, you had better like kale. Pyewacket (named withheld for blogging purposes), who joined a CSA in Cambridge MA recalls last year receiving one box that was almost all greens and radishes. "It does push the boundaries of your culinary expertise," she says. "I didn't know you could cook radishes."

There it is, my one moment of fame: "I didn't know you could cook radishes."

Really, I said more interesting things. Honest.

But interestingly enough, every time I tell this story, I get the same response. "You can cook radishes?"

Yes, you can. The best method is a quick saute in butter (of course), preferably finished with a bunch of chopped fresh dill and sprinkle of vinegar. The radishes maintain their crispness and color, but their sharp edge is tempered to something more mellow.

If you roast them, they become mellower still, to the point of tasting a bit dull. But they add some color to a pan of roast vegetables. If you have them around, which I usually do, it's worth throwing a few in.

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