In root vegetable world, radishes get the short end of the stick. Think about it. Carrots and potatoes would be the popular kids, sweet potatoes would be cute and sweet. Ginger would be be edgy and beets would be the artsy ones. And radishes? Poor radishes. They’re mistaken for beets and even turnips. People just don’t know how to interact with radishes. At least turnips are loved by animals.
But I think radishes are wonderful. They taste clean, a little bit spicy, and utterly refreshing. They also come in a myriad of beautiful colors, adding artistic flair to the dish.
People usually toss their radishes into salad. I cannot even count how many sad salads I’ve seen with little dehydrated slices of radishes. My friends pick the radishes out of their salads. Poor radishes. I honestly believe that a lot of people think they hate radishes because they’ve never eaten a fresh radish.
So when my dad’s colleague gave him a few radishes the other day, I began to brainstorm how to best showcase them. I wanted to capture the freshness, the feeling they leave in your mouth of having eaten something pleasantly cleansing. I then remembered that radish leaves have their own unique flavor, an almost abrasive spiciness. I settled on crostini because 1) I was short on time and 2) crostini are fairly healthy. The quest for healthy delicious food continues! Enjoy :)
Radish Crostini (makes ~16)
~1 lb radishes (easter egg radishes are a beautiful choice)
7 1/2 oz ricotta cheese
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F and warm the baguette for 10 minutes. (I used 3/4 of a loaf from Whole Foods.)
Cut the radishes into thin slices, saving the leaves.
To make radish leaf pesto, put the radish leaves, mint, pine nuts, and olive oil in a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are well-combined but not puréed.
To assemble, cut the bread into ~16 slices, smear a layer of ricotta onto the bread, then a layer of pesto, and top generously with radish slices.
Feel free to sprinkle pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil as a finishing touch.