Yesterday at the farmers market I was surprised to see how many vendors still have spring radishes. One of the farmers explained that the significant rainfall these past three weeks has kept newly harvested radishes tender and buttery.
Although they are grown year round, radishes prefer the cooler weather. Spring radishes (at least the varieties available at my local farmers market) tend to be smaller, but have a smoother taste. Radishes available in the hotter, dryer months tend toward a more peppery flavor.
Nevertheless, all those radishes gave me a chance to serve up a favorite—radishes with butter and salt. Radishes are not French, but the addition of good butter and salt makes this humble vegetable decidedly French. In France they are served as an appetizer or savory snack.
There are several ways to prepare radishes and butter. The first is to simply cut the top off the radish, add a bit of unsalted butter, dip it in salt, et voila! There is something unexpected about the mild spicy crunch of the radish blended with the cool smoothness of the butter that is so delicious. If you want to get a little fancier you could cut a small, lengthwise wedge out of the radish and fill it with butter before sprinkling with salt.
Another delicious way to enjoy radishes and butter are on top of a baguette. First, slice the radishes paper thin. Then cut a baguette, butter it, layer on the thinly sliced radishes, and sprinkle it with your favorite salt.
Either way, you’ve prepared something fresh, inexpensive, delicious, and authentically French. If you decide to give it a try, I'd love to hear about it.