07 July 2014

Summer Radish Toast

Hi. My name is Paul, and I am the second foodie, also known as 'the hubs'. You may have seen me in the background of photos, patiently waiting for Annika to take a picture of her wonderful creations while the food gets chilled. But hey, that’s cool – I still get to eat amazing food on a regular basis. So this is kind of an awkward circumstance...writing on behalf of my wife on her blog. However, because I had a major hand in creating this dish, Annika asked me to write it up. So here it goes...

My wife and I started dating based on our love for food so it obviously plays a major role in our lives. The first meal we made together, after timidly agreeing to our first date, was an Indian dish. Our interaction in the kitchen and the delicious outcome made it clear to me that we were right for each other. Almost five years later, our kitchen alliance has become stronger, leading to amazing recipes that are definitely ‘blogable’ (a word that is passed between us on a regular basis). So here we are, almost three years since the start of her blog, in a new city, with new jobs and a completely new KITCHEN.

Since moving to downtown Minneapolis we have adapted a easy-going lifestyle, replacing bikes with cars, and grocery stores with co-ops. One of the first major purchases we made since moving here was a community-supported agriculture (CSA) share. Some of you might not have a clue what a CSA is, but if you like fresh produce you should definitely look into it. The share is essentially a box of vegetables or fruit purchased from your local farm and delivered to a central location for a set period of time. It is a great way to support local farmers and get fresh produce. Though it is difficult to throw down a couple hundred at one time for your share, it is cheaper in the long run, especially for those who eat the recommended serving of vegetables daily (trust me, I am a doctor). After calculating the weekly cost per box, I was able to convince my frugal wife that a CSA was a good option for us.

Annika and I ended up signing up for a share through the Sleepy Roots Farm.  They offered a very nice payment plan that let us pay in three installments rather than entirely up front.  We selected a medium share for 18 weeks, which is basically enough vegetables for the two of us for the same price at the grocery. For those of you interested in CSAs, do your research. Many farms offer different sizes dependent on cost and you might find a different size is better for your home. The first box came with an array of vegetables including from Russian kale, French breakfast radishes, spearmint and microgreens. This CSA also offers a newsletter with each delivery, highlighting the flavor profiles and providing ‘suggested’ recipes with each week’s load. This radish dish was adapted from their newsletter.

This recipe is simple – French bread, butter, radishes, and salt. You can get a little crazier with goat cheese if you are into dairy (which we are). One cool thing about CSA's is that they force you to try new things. This week, it was something called ‘Lovage Salt.’ A quick Google search tells you that lovage is a white-flowered plant of the parsley family. This herb is insanely flavorful, so mixing it with salt balances the flavor a bit. And while Annika is the super taster in our home, even a flavor-serf like myself can get some hints of herb from the lovage salt. If you see some at a market or grocery store, pick it up for good combinations with eggs, bloody mary’s, or chicken. Even if you don’t have lovage salt, you can try the basic recipe as follows with table or sea salt. It is good to note that the butter or goat cheese cuts away the bitter flavor of the raw radish, allowing for the natural ‘crunch’ of the radish to shine. I also spread a few extra radish halves with goat cheese and topped them with their greens and that great salt for a fun twist on the CSA recipe.

Summer Radish Toast (2 servings)

  • 8 thin slices French bread (whole wheat preferred)
  • 4 radishes, sliced 1/8th inch thick
  • 2-3 tbs unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 tbs goat cheese (optional)
  • salt (preferably lovage, but go crazy with whatever you want)

Toast the bread under the broiler or in a toaster until crispy. Top the hot bread with a good amount of butter. Place sliced radishes on top, forming a single to double layer on the toast. Top with a big dash of salt. Enjoy tricking guests into eating vegetables.

If you are a big fan of cheese, after the butter add a good layer of goat cheese to the toast. Top with at least two layers of sliced radishes. Top with a GOOD pinch of salt. Eat warm.

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