Alex Eats: Radishes

Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex's Day Off , shares with readers what she's eating -- whether it's from the farmers' market or fresh off the boat, she'll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.

I love the sharp, mustard-like bite of radishes and I almost put them in the spicy food category. Let’s face it, when up against such voluptuous supermarket contenders like corn, asparagus and tomatoes, you have to ask yourself, "Why buy them?" For many reasons. Here's one: Daikon and watermelon radishes are sweet and very juicy. They have an amazing texture, adding a low-calorie, flavor-packed punch to any salad. The more common types, Breakfast or Easter Egg radishes, are more peppery. I love mixing them with fresh chiles or topping a steak or fish with slices of radish (or roasted whole) for a change of pace.

Daikon Radish: Daikons are also far milder in flavor than red radishes. They can grow to be quite large and resemble a thick cucumber. They must be peeled because the skin is tough like a turnip, and for this reason, I like adding them to slaws or mixing them with fresh fruit, like apples or peaches.

Watermelon Radish: It’s like a sports car covered with an old sheet -- the outside looks like a turnip until you peel it to reveal the deep, pink hue of the flesh. Watermelon radishes are sweeter and milder than red-skinned radishes. They’re especially wonderful in a salad with an acidic dressing because as they acidulate, their flesh becomes even more intensely colored and their tasty sweet side becomes more pronounced.

Breakfast Radish: Also known as French Breakfast radishes or D’Avignon radishes. Their skin is a rich red that tapers off to white just before the end tip. They are delicious raw or with yogurt flavored with paprika and lime.

Easter Egg Radishes: These are the most commonly found -- round, red, pink or purple-colored radishes. I love to mix the colors and roast them whole. Roasting the radishes mellows their “heat” flavor and it leaves room to enjoy the sweetness that lurks underneath. Since most of the “heat” resides in the skin, peel them if you want to enjoy them mellower.

Roasted Onions and Radishes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon honey

20 Breakfast (half red/ half white color) or Easter Egg (all red or all pink) radishes, washed, stemmed and cut in half

Juice from ½ lemon or splash red wine vinegar

Heat a large sauté pan and add the olive oil.

Add the onions and season them with salt and pepper.

Brown the onions, 3-5 minutes, over medium heat. Lower the heat, add the honey and radishes and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes.

Add a splash of water if the onions or radishes start to dry out or become overly browned. At this point, cook for a few additional minutes (depending on the size of onions and radishes) until the vegetables are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

Add the juice from ½ lemon or a splash of red wine vinegar.

Browse more of Food Network's radish recipes.
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