Seeking Off-Season Inspiration | Braised & Glazed Radishes
You may have noticed that I lay pretty low during the Thanksgiving madness. Many food bloggers used the holiday as an opportunity to celebrate such enviable events as pie week or to helpfully compile relevant recipes for readers. I, on the other hand, have to confess that I don’t love Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely in favor of taking note of all that I’m grateful for (this post really rang true to me), and I do love a good excuse to make pie. But other than that, it just feels like too much effort to prepare the required traditional foods in excess of what most families could eat in an entire week.
This year was particularly tough. Mike and I did two consecutive days of Thanksgiving: one with his parents and one with mine. Add to that the CSA withdrawal I’ve been suffering from since our deliveries ended a few weeks ago, the cold my body has barely been keeping at bay, the numerous rainy days, and I just haven’t felt too enthusiastic about cooking lately. Instead, I’ve been lazily reheating leftovers and stocking up on Trader Joe’s packaged essentials.
Meal planning for the week is a lot different in the CSA off-season. Although it was a challenge to use up all the vegetables we would receive every Monday, part of the work was already done for me. I knew what I had to work with, and it was up to me to figure out what to do with it. Without that guidance, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed at having to make all the decisions for myself again. I’m sure I’ll come to embrace this freedom, but for now I’ll share one of the last dishes I made with CSA vegetables.
I’ve enjoyed slicing radishes on top of green salads all summer, but other than that, I was never sure what else to do with them. I should have consulted Bittman sooner. While eating this dish, Mike, who isn’t a fan of raw radishes, said that I “really hid the flavor of the radishes,” which made me scowl, as any cook will understand, but which I think meant that the flavor profile of the cooked radish was more appealing to him than the raw. I have to agree, and had I known that cooking radishes changed them so much, I would surely have done this sooner. In fact, I thought these were so good that while I served them over quinoa and crumbled a bit of goat cheese on top, I would enjoy them on their own the next time I make them, which probably won’t be until the spring. In the meantime, I’m on the hunt for new inspiration.
Braised & Glazed Radishes
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
1 tablespoon butter
½ pound radishes, trimmed, and halved or quartered
¼ cup water or white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
salt & black pepper to taste
Combine butter, water or wine, and a few grinds of salt and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the radishes, and stir to coat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until radishes are tender, about 15–20 minutes. Stir gently once or twice, and add more liquid if the pan goes dry.
When the radishes are tender, remove the lid, and raise the heat to boil off the liquid and caramelize the outside of the radishes, tossing a few times. Remove from the heat, and add the lemon juice to deglaze the pan, followed by the thyme. Stir, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary.