Never would I have imagined the joy that flowed through my hands as I picked these French breakfast radishes and fresh herbs from my vertical garden. Even though it may have been a small harvest, the fact that I grew my own food was extremely satisfying, especially after cooking with the radishes. They make the perfect side dish to many of these gluten-free dinner recipes.
I love this smaller, oblong variety of radish for its mild, softer flavor compared to traditional radishes, and the beautiful white and pink colors. The radish’s skin is thin and smooth, with a crunchy, tender bite. They grow quickly, maturing in 20-30 days.
Start checking the radishes about 3 weeks after you’ve planted them. You’ll want to harvest when their greens are about 6 to 8 inches tall. If you can feel or see the “shoulder’s of the radish body peeking out of the ground, it’s probably ready to pull. Waiting too long to harvest will result in woody, very spicy radishes.
After washing the dirt off their bottoms, I ate a few of them raw, dusted with flaky sea salt. They were perfectly tender, and their pastel pink color quite stunning.
From there I knew I wanted to to create a simple dish with just a few ingredients to let them shine, exactly what these Sautéed Breakfast Radishes yield. If you’re radish-averse because you’ve bitten into a few that were hot and peppery, you’ll find this easy method to making them a winner, as it softens their texture and mellows out their sharpness.
We often think of braising as a technique just for meat, but it works wonders for vegetables too, transforming them into flavorful, soul-warming dishes.
It requires little more than cooking ingredients gently with a little bit of liquid (I used vegetable stock and ghee) in a covered pan. Because radishes are tender and carry a fair amount of moisture, it only takes about 20 minutes for them to finish cooking this way.
So ghee….. are you familiar? It has quickly become one of my favorite fats to cook with, especially when sautéing vegetables. Ghee is made by simmering unsalted butter for a long time and removing the milk solids (making it dairy-free) that have separated from the butterfat. You can buy it at any grocery store near the cooking oils.
The result? A beautiful golden liquid with a high smoke point. Since it has more contact with the browning milk solids compared to clarified butter, a different flavor profile emerges. It’s unexplainably rich, reminiscent of nutty, brown butter.
The decadence of the ghee soaks into the radishes as they braise, and their turn mellow and buttery. The thyme deepens their flavor, and is elevated with a bit of flaky salt. I love how fresh they taste! Simply put, it’s a delicious infusion.
With all the joy and solitude that my tiny garden has brought me, there’s no doubt I’ll continue this practice regardless of where I’m living. I encourage you to do the same, for the power of plants is more than just food.