Rascally Roasted Radishes, Really!

Sometime in our past we humans were digging around in the dirt and hit about the idea of eating roots. The world has been a better place ever since!

There are many ways to enjoy these vegetables from the underworld, but roasting is just about my favorite. Roots such as parsnips, carrots, and beets are commonly roasted because it brings out their distinctive, rustic charm, and actually amplifies their inherent richness and bolsters the sugars in these vegetables.

Which got me thinking, Radishes are a root vegetable. Could I roast a radish?

So I did an Internet search and quickly landed at The Bitten Word. These guys have a great blog, and like me they seem to like to mix up expectations. So when I saw they had already experimented with roasting radishes I knew that their insights would help put me on the right path with my roasted radishes.

radishesThey got their recipe from Food and Wine. Their recipe called for the radishes with their greens. But I am going to do them alone because I have already decided to use the greens to make a pistou or pesto to slather over stuffed chicken breasts. I am having people in for dinner tonight; these roasted radishes will be making their appearance on the same plate as this chicken.

The Bitten Word’s main issue with this recipe was that the distinctive bite of radish was mellowed through roasting. It mellowed to the point that they felt the radishes tasted more like turnips in the end. They suggested less time in the oven. I think I’ll use a lower temperature than Food and Wine’s recommended 400 degrees F. too. Since I am not using the greens I think I’ll skip the whole stovetop part as well.

But their turnip reference did get me thinking. Maybe I could raadishes for roastingmake the turnip comparison work for me… I love roasted turnips with anchovies. It’s so rustic Italian! Certainly it would not be that difficult to find a recipe for roasted turnips with anchovies. I think every Nona in Sicily has that recipe in her repertoire. The only “hard” part would be substituting radishes for turnips.

Well, finding an Internet version of this recipe was not as easy a process as I thought. I kept coming up just short of what I was looking for. But then I got the idea to search the web in Italian! Thanks to FreeTranslation​.com I found the words arrostita (roasted), acciuge (anchovies), rapa (turnip) and ricetta (recipe). Well bingo!

I got all kinds of hits. Salads, pastas, and gratanates! More than enough to develop a road map towards my version of Roasted Radishes with Anchovies. Further research led me to a Martha Stewart recipe that included capers, so capers made it into the final dish too. In fact, in the end my recipe is very similar to hers. Great minds think alike! I just wonder if her thought process is as convoluted as mine?

And just so you know, you can put all your expectations aside. These things are fantastic. Mangiare tutto!

Roasted Radishes with Anchovies serves 6 CLICK here for printable recipe

  • 2 bn radishes (mixed varieties if possible)
  • 2 T capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 10 anchovies, mushed into a paste
  • 3 clv garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

roasted radishes with anchoviesPre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and dry the radishes thoroughly. Then cut them into halves or quarters. Though you may leave the small ones whole. Your goal is uniform bite-sized pieces.

Toss the radishes with the chopped capers, anchovies, garlic, olive oil in a medium-sized bowl. Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Spread the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet, in as close to a single layer as possible.

Roast them in the upper third of the oven for 30 minutes, stirring them once or twice to achieve even coloring. Squeeze plenty of lemon juice over the hot radished just before serving.


Greg Henry