The alchemy of heat changes the character of the radish in the most amazing way. A hint of butter and sweet glaze highlights the mellow, creamy center of braised radishes, which have none of the spicy kick of a raw radish. They’re like two different vegetables, young and brash in a salad and mild with a hint of earthy tones when cooked. Until recently I thought radishes were only good for a spark of color and a pungent bite in the salad bowl, but mostly doomed to spoil in the bottom of the fridge because I couldn’t use the entire bunch in a salad. How many I’ve tossed, never dreaming that they were hiding a secret side. I recently discovered that I adore braised radishes, which is especially exciting because being on a restricted diet means taking advantage of everything that’s on the allowed list.
Don’t over cook them or they will become mushy and watery. Parsley garnish makes a beautiful contrast, but adds back a pungent note reminiscent of cabbage. I prefer the radishes without the parsley, but you may not, so taste test before sprinkling on all of the parsley.
Serves 4, adapted from Gourmet
1 pound (450 grams) radishes, trimmed and washed
1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar or 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) dextrose
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
2 tablespoons (30 ml) minced fresh parsley, optional
Add the radishes to a heavy saucepan wide enough to hold them in 1 layer. Add the butter, sugar and salt, and heat over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring. Add the water, cover, and simmer until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the radishes. Uncover the pan, turn the heat up and boil until the liquid reduces to a glaze, shaking the pan occasionally. Toss the radishes to coat them with the glaze and sprinkle with the parsley, if desired.