Friday, August 10, 2012

bringin' radishes to their roots


I'm pretty sure the Holy Trinity of the food world is flour, water, and yeast.   I mean think about it: three simple ingredients that come together to magically make that risen delight that everyone loves (or loves to hate, you carbophobes!).  Bread brings people together.  You break bread amongst those you want to welcome.  But, alas, this post is NOT about bread.  I'm just getting y'all revved up.  It's about Holy Trinity II.  Is that a thing? Maybe not, but I'm going to make it one.  Radishes. Butter. Salt.  Simple as that.  Yes, I know, there may be other trifectas that could lay claim to HTII, but this combination is taking the spotlight for the moment.  If you've never tried it (oh, the humanity!!), rush out and do so ASAP.  Fresh, raw radishes, with the best butter you can get (Plugra - go big or go home people), plus some good sea salt.  It's utterly delightful! The following recipe is essentially an homage to this combination, with the addition of a few other ingredients.  Get the widest assortment of radishes you can find, because it will make for an eye-popping final plating!

A few things before you get started - the almond cream takes a bit of time to make, but can be made ahead.  I know that not everyone has agar agar lying around the kitchen, so if NEED be, the almond cream (as well as green almonds) can be omitted.   It does give this amazing whisper of an almond flavor to the dish that's almost imperceptible, but it's definitely there.  You could sprinkle the base of your plates with a bit of almond meal for the flavor, but it will add another textural component to the dish.  But hey, this is cooking. Play with it!

Radishes, Butter, & Almonds
Serves 4
(Adapted from Quay)  
20 green almonds
1 C milk
2 watermelon radishes
2 black (Nero Tondo) radishes 
4 cherry belle radishes
8 French breakfast radishes
4 purple breakfast radishes
4 hailstone (white) radishes
8 small white turnips
12 baby red onions
Almond cream (recipe follows)
Assorted microgreens (I used Hong Vit radish and purple radish)
~3-4 T butter, melted
Sea salt

If you're note as crazy as I am, you can just pick up a bunch of assorted Easter Egg radishes - a great color combo!


First, shell the green almonds and cover them with milk so they don't discolor.  Place in the fridge until ready to plate.

Next, prep the vegetables.  You want to make sure you bring out the best of each radish, color-wise, so the dish turns out like Joseph's technicolor dreamcoat! That being said, the watermelon radishes should be peeled and thinly sliced (~1/4 in) to showcase their namesake.  Same goes for the black radish, but forego the peeling! For the remaining radishes, cut the greens and peel the base if need be.  Depending on the size, you can cut some in half, or in quarters.  This is a really simply dish, and the best part is the plating, so do what you please! Repeat with the turnips.  For the onions, simply slice of the ends and peel off the outermost layer.  


Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil - remember, this will help flavor the vegetables, so ensure it's got a nice salty kick to it!  Cook all of the vegetables until just fork tender.  Cooking time will vary, depending on the size of each vegetable, whether it's sliced or whole, etc. - between a 30 seconds for the sliced radishes, to four minutes for the whole vegetables. The onions should need no more than a minute and a half.  Once the vegetables are cooked, drain them.  Brush with a bit of melted butter and sea salt, and get ready to plate! When you're just about ready, drain the green almonds as well.

To plate, place a dollop or brush the base of your dish with a bit of almond cream (this will need to be reheated if made well ahead).  Divide the vegetables and green almonds evenly between four plates and scatter them on and around the almond cream.  Top with a few microgreens, and get ready to dig in! I finished mine with a bit of black lava salt....basically because I wanted to use black salt and thought it would look cool.  Kind of nature-esque and dirt-like.  Taking the radishes back to their roots, y'all!



Almond Cream
3.5 oz toasted almonds
2 C milk
1/8 oz agar agar powder
Fine sea salt


In a food processor, pulse the almonds to a relatively fine grind. Set aside.  In a small saucepan, heat up the milk, bringing it nearly to a boil.  Just before the milk is about to boil, remove it from the heat, and add in the ground almonds. Stir and keep the pan over the lowest heat possible for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat completely and allow to sit for another 20 minutes.  Next, pour the milk through a sieve lined with cheesecloth into another small pan.  Whisk in the agar agar powder, and reheat the milk to about 195F, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and allow the almond milk to set.   Once it has set, place it in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste, season with sea salt, and blend once more.  Place in the fridge until ready to use.


Que c'est délicieux! A treat for sore eyes and bored tastebuds!  This dish is a great representation of that combination I was speaking of earlier, but sensualized. Seriously.  You know in olden days movies when they put a silk stocking over the lens when they shot a woman to make her more 'appealing'? That's what just happened with this dish.  The spiciness of each radish and turnip is brought down by the gentle cooking, and is rounded out by the faint taste of red onion and almonds.  A gentle kick of spiciness is brought in by the microgreens, but not enough to overpower the other flavors of the dish.  And we all know what butter does.  The final sprinkling of sea salt gives the dish  a perfect amount of crunch.  Perfect. Delicate. Ambrosial!


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