Radishes are lucky to be at any American table. Used in salads as filler and crudités plates for color they are always the last to be eaten (if they're eaten at all). It's understandable, though, because the varieties we buy from the supermarket are extremely bitter and rather unpleasant by themselves. The varieties of radish at the farmers market are more varied, but even the milder English versions are peppery and conducive to eating by themselves. The way to bite back at these is to roast them. It changes their flavor profile from crunchy and astringent to soft and creamy. The addition of browned butter infused with thyme adds a nutty and herbaceous counterpoint. Radishes are available at local farmers markets until December, which is good because you will want to make again after finishing the first batch.
Roasted radishes with brown thyme butter
Makes: 8 servings
5 bunches radishes (35-40)
1 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 stick butter
5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
1/4 cup packed radish greens, minced (optional but tasty)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large non reactive bowl, toss the radishes with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a covered baking dish and place into the oven for 50 minutes. Uncover and roast for another 10. The radishes are done when you can put a knife into a radish and pull it out with no resistance. In a small saucepot or pan over medium flame, melt the butter and add the thyme. The butter will begin to bubble vigorously. When the bubbling dies down, cook the butter for another minute and the butter will be ready. It should be hazel in color. Pour the hot butter mixture over the hot radishes, add the radish greens and toss. Serve immediately.
Tip: You can mash the radishes as a great substitute for potatoes or just as a fun change of pace. If you don't like how wet they become after mashing, you can strain them or cook it off in a hot saucepan.