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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Black Radishes

Last night, I had to get my hands on the black radishes I picked up at the Winter Farmer's Market yesterday. I couldn't stand it. I needed to play with them. The vender told me that tasted like mild turnips, so that's how I treated them.  Although I usually boil and mash turnips, I decided to braise and saute the gigantic radishes.

It couldn't have been easier. I simply scrubbed the skins of the radishes and sliced off the ends before cutting them into thin wedges.  After melting unsalted butter in a hot skillet, I sauteed the radishes in  sizzling butter with salt and pepper until they started to brown. 
Once they took on a bit of color, I added a cup of water to the skillet, clamped on a lid, and let them braise until tender.  When I could pierce them easily with the tip of a knife, I removed the lid to evaporate the liquid and dropped 4 tablespoons of butter into skillet to create a nutty brown butter.  I repeatedly turned the black radishes in the brown butter until they were crisp and evenly caramelized.  To gild the lily, I deglazed the pan with pomegranate infused red wine vinegar and honey, creating a tart sweet glaze.

I served the brown butter glazed black radishes alongside short ribs, slow-brasied in red wine, tomatoes, and beef stock. I nestled the  ribs over buttered egg noodles, topping them with a zested lemon, orange, and fresh parsley gremolata.

They were fantastic! The radishes tasted like turnips, but were were pleasantly stronger with bold peppery overtones and yielding a firmer texture  than delicate cooked turnips. While the brown butter napped them with sleepy nuttiness, the tangy sweet pomegranate infused red wine vinegar reduction certainly enhanced their assertiveness, amping up the tang factor and balancing the deep earthiness of the short ribs.  They were crazy good, completely exceeding my curiousity and anticipation.

I have a few left. 
We'll see what becomes of them.


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