Friday, 10 July 2009
The other day, I visited the Borden Street weekly farmers’ market. (If you live nearby, do go! It’s a very good market.) One vendor had absolutely stunning looking chard. She was also selling the most exquisite gold, red and candy-striped beets, all with the most fabulous looking leaves. And there lurking beside the chard, she also had radishes with even more fabulous looking leaves. She was surprised when I said that I was going to eat the leaves. I was surprised that she didn’t eat radish leaves. I thought everyone ate radish leaves!
I know. It was only last July that I too discovered radish leaves are not only edible, they’re delicious. In fact the photo on this post is from last year. I’ve been so busy eating this year’s radishes that the camera lens hasn’t been able to get close to them!
This year, as soon as radishes were available at the market, I’ve been grabbing them, but only if the leaves look luxurious. To put into omelettes, palak paneer and bubbly squeak (I suppose we could put them into salad too… that is, if I set any radish leaves aside and did better planning ahead, we could).
One thing about the leaves though, is that they tend to disintegrate rather quickly. And we can’t always eat the leaves right away.
Here’s what I’ve been doing: as soon as I get the radishes home, I cut the leaves off just above the radishes, leaving a little bit of green on each radish. I wash the radishes (with tops and tails intact) and put them into a bowl of water and stick it in the fridge. Cold radishes are best, don’t you think?
Then I wash the leaves, salt them and let them sit in a colander for about half an hour. I squeeze them out to remove water and put the salted leaves into the fridge so they’re ready to be used in various dishes. My plan was to have a radish leaf omelette today.
Last night, we made pizza. We like our pizza well-dressed. We didn’t have any spinach for the pizza but we did have those radish leaves. I didn’t HAVE to use them all in the omelette today, did I? Of course not. So onto the pizza they went, along with fresh tomato sauce, cheese, basil leaves, capers, onions, mushrooms and ham.
Radish leaves on pizza!??!! Yes, that’s what I said: on pizza.
Once again, I have no photographic proof that we did this. And alas, I’m WAY too late (there’s a big surprise) for the Bread Baking Day Pizza party.
Even if there were proof, the radish leaves look pretty much like spinach on the pizza. But the taste is a little different. Radish leaves are not quite as sweet as spinach. I love radish leaves on pizza!
Now I have a dilemma. Should I hold off on having the radish leaf omelette today and save the extra radish leaves for pizza again on the weekend? Or should I look for more radishes at the market?
This is tricky. I’m not certain that radishes are available throughout the summer. Aren’t they an early summer crop?
We’re almost at the end of Laura Schenone’s wonderful book The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken
‘A Search for Food and Family’. Schenone includes several recipes at the end of this lovely memoir. We’re thinking that radish leaves might be excellent in the ravioli filling that calls for various greens.
Oh, by the way, the radishes themselves are delicious as well. If only I could stop munching on them like apples, I could try Jude’s minted radish butter. It looks and sounds delicious. Remind me!! Our mint neeeeeds pruning.
(I just checked Farmers’ Markets of Ontario’s website, greenbeltfresh: What’s in Season and see that radishes are available all summer.)
Hmmmm, now what do I do?!