Saturday, May 15, 2010

Experimenting with Ingredients: Red Radish Canapés

This week's box contains:
  • Lettuce  (traded for more shallots)
  • Red Radishes
  • Strawberries
  • Bunched Spinach
  • Bunched Green-Tailed Shallots
  • Artichokes
  • Fava Beans
Red radishes are not something I would normally procure ...

Members of my family actively seek them out ~ eating them out of hand topped with salt.  I don't mind them, and actively like them pickled.  However, having them in the house takes thought and effort if they are to avoid the compost pile.

There is a bunch in this week's box, so I thought I'd focus on dealing with food that doesn't have immediate appeal.  What do you do when you have something on hand that does not inspire?

I typically do one of a few things:
  • Research: Cookbooks and the internet are a tremendous help.  Either leverage the index of your favorite cookbook or search the internet for the ingredient in question.  An example would be a Google search on "radish recipes".
  • Integrate:  Some ingredients can be integrated into something that does inspire.  For example, if you love risotto, almost anything you can imagine can be added to a compatible recipe.  Some ingredients can be "hidden"; check out Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious for ideas.

  • Trade:  In some cases, I know we will not eat the food.  Friends and family will often take the food off your hands, sometimes in exchange for something else.  This is a great option and often starts for us when we pick up the box.  Our CSA offers a "trade" box; if yours does ~ use it.

  • Imagine: Sounds trite, but stay with me.  Is there a situation in which you can imagine a ingredient making an ingredient work?  We've got family in town this weekend and heavy appetizers were a part of the plan for tonight.  I narrowed my search on "radish recipes" to those that would fit the situation.  Knowing a few appetizer-like terms, such as canapé and "amuse bouche" helped.

I landed on a typical French preparation of radishes: radishes, butter, and salt.  Given the noshing planned, it wasn't a stretch to create Red Radish Canapés by adding bread to the equation.  Here's the recipe, which was a big hit.

Red Radish Canapés
Serves 4 as a first course

3 large red radishes, thinly sliced
butter, at room temperature (we used Kerrygold)
coarse salt (we used Celtic Sea Salt)
bread, thinly sliced
minced herbs of your choice

Lightly toast the bread and set aside to cool.  Spread butter on the bread and top with radish slices.  Top with minced herbs and coarse salt.  Enjoy!

We served these canapés with a Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut ~ a entirely pleasant pairing.

As for the other box contents, we ate the strawberries out of hand throughout the day and grilled the artichokes for dinner tonight.  The spinach and shallots will likely find their way into risotto while the favas wait for next weekend when we have time to deal with them.

1 comment:

  1. I seriously never in my life tried radishes until about two summers ago (I know, I'm crazy, right?). Since, I've been making up for 20 plus years and eating radishes like crazy. I love them! I love this idea for taking to a party or for whipping up quick when people stop by. Plus, it's pretty pink and green. Thanks for the idea.