That these are called (in the UK, anyway) French Breakfast radishes is a complete misnomer. As far as I can ascertain the French don’t eat them for breakfast. Nor are they particularly and solely French. But this aside, radishes are now in season and my weekly shop would not be complete without a leafy bunch of radishes sitting proudly atop the other sundry vege.
Radishes fall within the mustard family of plants, although we eat the roots (and sometimes leaves)of the radish, rather than the seeds (and sometimes leaves) of most mustard plants.
Generally, radishes have a light, crisp, texture and a peppery flavour. Select firm roots that are blemish free. If you prefer your radishes very crisp a good way of ensuring that they are is to soak them in iced water for a couple of hours before preparing them.
It’s best to prepare radishes as close to serving them as possible, as the gorgeous peppery flavour has a tendency to dissipate somewhat if they are left for a time. Because of this I always leave the radishes until last when compiling a salad, or using them as a garnish for warm grains.
Other ideas are to simply wash the roots, trim the leaves and serve them as a snack or side with a meal – they are a great palate cleanser. Alternatively you can slice them lengthwise and either salt them or butter them. You can have them sliced thinly and layered on an open, buttered baguette.
Another option is to sauté them in unsalted butter (as you might do with asparagus or green beans). Or you could finely slice the roots and the leaves and add them to a stir fry. And of course, the leaves can always be washed and added to a salad in and of themselves for a spicy kick.
There’s so much you can do with these root vegetables. I’d love to know how you serve yours.