Market Matters- Learn to Love Radish and Herbed Olive-Butter Crostini

Radish and Herbed Olive-Butter Crostini. Did he say radish? One-Two-Three. Can we all say ahhh…?

Because people don’t like radishes. It’s not that they hate radishes they just don’t give radishes much more than a passing thought or glance. Usually, they are just pushed around the salad bowl in search of prettier pickins. They’re the food equivalent of church lady chaperons at a high school dance. They always seem to be there lurking, but not really invited. But radishes are much more than an unwanted sidekick or an angsty teen wallflower, destined only for the gymnasium sidelines. Because radishes really rock. I know because in high school I was a radish. Eventually, people came around and gave me a second look. So that’s what I’d like you to do when it comes to radishes. Start by taking a peek at the indices of your favorite cookbooks. Look up radish. It should be right there next to radicchio, but it rarely is. Poor thing.

So do this for me. Take a second look at radishes. I think you’ll admit that there is something special in their fuschia beauty. When grabbed by the bunch they look like a litter of mice running for the same hole. Pink tails sticking straight up in the air with their red butts wiggling under your nose. As cute as they are from that angle. I want you to turn them around. Check out their emerald greens. Good radishes give themselves away in the greens. They should be bright and crisp, not at all wilted. The orbs should be brightly colored. But not necessarily red. There are many varieties available now including pure white and shell pink. There are multi-colored radishes known as Easter Eggs, and there are two-toned varieties too– gradating from a white tail to a nearly purple smiley face.

For today’s Market Matters from the Hollywood Farmers Market, I chose the smiliest of all the varieties. It’s called “Watermelon”. For obvious reasons. It’s got a strong flavor too– a mixture of sweet and heat, that is super crisp on the tooth. I used them to make a classic crostini of butter and radish on a crusty baguette. GREG

Radish and Herbed Olive-Butter Crostini serves 6 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 16 oil-cured black olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 baguette, sliced lengthwise and toasted
  • radishes, thinly sliced and cut to fit baguette as needed, depending on their size
  • very good sea salt, to taste

In a small bowl mix together olives, scallions, mint, and butter. Season with a pinch of pepper. Spread olive-butter onto each baguette slice. Thinly layer radish slices on top of each buttered baguette half. Season with plenty of good sea salt. Slice crosswise and serve.

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in PanamaCosta Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network.