Monday, July 29, 2013

Save the Radish Greens!

If you're like me, you don't get to the farmer's markets as often as you hope to. The intention is there, but then Saturday or Sunday morning rolls around and the organic kale is screaming for you to get. out. of. bed. And you fell asleep before 9 last night, so there's really no excuse for the lethargy ... but there it is, anyway. So the kale goes on screaming, all the way home in someone else's reusable hessian shopping bag.

And then, one day, you make it out the door and to the market.
Kids (including your own) are running around barefoot and spinning on tire swings and you think, why don't they make a park that's all huge trees with tire swings of different shapes and sizes? And you mull over that idea while sipping your americano and regarding the giant bunch of radishes you just bought. Do you even like radishes? Doesn't matter - they beckoned. You'll figure out something. 

At home, the radishes sit on the kitchen counter like a still life, a portrait. You think of radishes from childhood, the crisp ... crisp ... crisp ... burn of them. You wonder if there's a perfect ratio for crispness to burnness, because you're a scientist and you wonder these things sometimes. You think of blogged radishes, particularly those from Bea at La Tartine Gourmande, who makes these humble ground-dwellers radiate, glow. 

It's nearly dinnertime. What to do? You chop off the greens and go to toss them, feed the worms with them, and then you wonder. Could I eat these? A quick online search confirms: yes. Certain cultures, particularly European and central-Asian cultures, use radish greens all the time. You can make them into pesto or pasta or tarts (this last, technically turnip greens, but same difference), but as you make pasta and tarts pretty regularly, you want something different. You turn to this recipe, instead.


It's simple, and delicious, and you feel quite virtuous this Sunday night because a) you actually made it to the markets, with your family even; b) you spent your money wisely (of course) on radishes - with greens! - and salad mix and heirloom baby tomatoes and limes and fresh butter and your favourite sourdough pane; and c) you used a bit of a vegetable you would have otherwise thrown out.

So don't throw out the radish greens (or turnip greens, or beetroot greens)! 
Make them into something delish, instead. Feel good.
Amanda xx

Spicy Radish Greens
serves 2-3 
adapted from this article

I recommend using the tops of organic radishes on the day you bring them home from the market. Prune out any wilty or yellowed leaves, snip off the rest at the top of the stem, and wash them thoroughly to remove silt. After cooking, I found they weren't even particularly mustardy or peppery - they just tasted like greens - yet they add variety to a diet where "greens" most often = spinach, and they make use of the whole vegetable. I like that. I use fresh turmeric here to retain as many of its healthy, anti-cancer properties as possible. They say turmeric's good for preventing cancer, and who am I to argue with that?

The time
5-10 min prep + 10-15 min cooking

The ingredients
1 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp fresh organic turmeric, grated (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tomato, minced
4 handfuls organic radish greens
1 red chilli, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
sea salt, to taste

*Always use organic when you can, and market-fresh greens.

The process
1. Over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in the oil until transparent. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, and tomato and keep stirring until the tomato starts to come apart. Add the greens, stirring continually, as Jamie Oliver would say - massaging them. When they're just wilted, remove from heat.

2. Tip everything onto a serving dish and top with sea salt, minced chilli and lemon juice, to taste. 

3. Enjoy as a side dish, or with rice, or flatbreads.

The cost
We won't count the greens, since we saved them from impending worm-doom. All in all, I made this organically for ~$1. PS. Grow your own turmeric, especially if you live in a warm climate. You'll love using it fresh!


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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx

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