By Analiese Paik
This is the third in a series of articles about cooking with cast-offs, the edible vegetable parts we commonly throw away.
“Are they edible?” It’s a question I commonly get about radish greens. Yes, and tender, fresh vegetables like these cook quickly and only require a simple preparation to taste fantastic. So don’t let your radish greens wilt away uneaten in the refrigerator. They’re too delicious to waste.
A few years ago, I combined radish greens and spring garlic to make a fresh and light yet very flavorful soup fit for a cool, rainy day like today. “What is it?” my family asked? It was a new flavor sensation! The soup was such a hit with my family that I’ve made it every year since then.
Spring garlic looks like a cross between a scallion and a leek, and all three are members of the Allium family of foods known for their excellent health benefits. Spring garlic is simply young garlic that has not yet formed a bulb, and therefore is milder in taste than mature garlic. If you can’t find spring garlic, simply double the amount of radish greens.
Visit a farm, farmers’ market, or local green grocer and buy a bunch of radishes with their greens, preferably organic, and some spring garlic, then transform them into an appetizer and side dish that are delicious and satisfying. The greens go in the soup and the radishes get cooked as the side dish.
Rather than serving the radishes raw, trying cooking them for an entirely different taste experience that is more palatable to children. Wash, trim and quarter the radishes, then cook them in some butter with a sprinkle of salt until tender. They turn pale pink and quite sweet tasting. Top with a mild fresh herb like chervil.
On a really hot day, try a radish with butter and salt sandwich; it’s a classic.
Radish Greens Soup With Spring Garlic
Serves: 4-6 as an appetizer
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
- Greens and stems from one large bunch of farm-fresh radishes
- 3-4 spring garlic
- 1 onion
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
1. Remove the radishes where they meet the stems using a knife or pair of kitchen scissors. Discard any brown or damaged leaves. Wash the greens in several changes or water, then rough chop to 2 inch lengths. Reserve.
2. Wash, trim and quarter radishes for cooking or slice for a salad or soup topping. Set aside or refrigerate for another day.
3. On a cutting board, trim root end and tough green leaves from spring garlic, then wash well. Return to clean cutting board and rough slice white, light green and any tender dark green parts. Reserve.
4. On a cutting board, peel and halve the onion lengthwise and cut half the onion into ¼ inch slices.
5. Heat olive oil over medium setting in a medium saucepan, add onion slices and spring garlic (if using), then cover to sweat with a sprinkling of salt.
6. When vegetables have turned translucent, after 3-4 minutes, add two cups of vegetable or chicken stock and bring to a boil.
7. Add coarsely chopped radish greens, lower heat, and simmer until tender, about ten minutes.
8. Puree soup until smooth with an immersion blender. Taste the soup, and if it’s not quite bursting with flavor, add a little salt and pepper.
9. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream and a few radish slices if you’re not cooking them.