Radishes never seemed mysterious. When I was growing up, they sometimes appeared as a side dish along with some slices of cucumber. It was like an instant salad, both spicy and colorful. Once in a while my mother put sliced raw radishes and small chunks of cucumber into a bowl of sour cream. That would be our lunch when she’d run out of everything else.
When I began cooking, I ignored radishes unless a recipe called for them, which was almost never. Recently I bought a bunch to use in a salad and began wondering what they would taste like roasted. They were surprisingly good. There was a little bite left in them, but the taste was mellower. Radishes also turn out to be good sliced and sautéd briefly in butter.
Roasted Vegetables – serves 4
1 pound very small white, red, new, Yukon Gold or fingerling potatoes, unpeeled
Olive or canola oil
1 large onion, cut roughly in big pieces
1 bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into 1-inch slices
8-10 radishes, ends trimmed
Radish greens, well-rinsed
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds (optional)
8-10 small mushrooms (optional)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Wash the potatoes and cut any large ones in half. Put the potatoes in a medium pot, half-fill with water and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. If you’re using tiny new potatoes, skip this step.
Begin heating the oven to 400 degrees.
Put 1 tablespoon oil into a roasting pan and shake the pan to distribute it around the bottom. Add the partly cooked potatoes, onion, bell pepper radishes and any other vegetables. Add 1-2 tablespoons more oil over the vegetables and sprinkle on the oregano, salt and pepper.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes and radishes can be easily pierced with a knife. Midway through roasting, shake the pan or stir with a large spoon. Serve immediately or reheat when needed.