Radishes: A spicy, crunchy complement to a healthy diet
VAIL, Colorado Nutritionally charged, the radish is a key component for healthy eating or a weight loss diet. Rich in fiber and Vitamin C, it has no saturated fat or cholesterol. Its spicy, crisp, crunchiness makes a great snack to ward off cravings. Eat enough of these and your body will benefit from other essential nutrients folate, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese. Radishes are a derivative of the mustard family, and grow as a root vegetable. One of the easiest veggies to grow, these plants can be started from seed in early spring. They thrive in cool climates, and can even be grown indoors in containers as long as they are placed in strong sunlight. Quick to sprout, and maturing in roughly three weeks, they are a satisfying crop for beginning gardeners and a fun project for kids, too.Radishes have been cultivated for thousands of years around the world. They are a staple in the cuisines of Asia, the mid-east, Europe and the Americas. The bright red Cherry Belle variety is most common in this country, used as a salad ingredient, crudite component, or stir fry addition. Jeremy Kittleson, executive chef at Restaurant Avondale, considers radishes a basic for any kitchen. Radishes add color and crunch to all kinds of meals, and can be a simple addition to just about any dish, he said. Here are some of his impromptu suggestions: Slice thin and add to a bagel with cream cheese. Slice thin and layer into a roast beef sandwich. Coarsely chop and top steaming clam chowder. Chop fine and mix with mayonnaise for a tangy sandwich spread. Sliver and add to rice pilaf. Mix with sour cream for a baked potato topping. Chop and top spicy chili. Sliver and use as a taco topping. Use as a colorful garnish for any serving platter.For his favorite combinations with radishes, Kittleson recommends salads as the possibilities are endless. Combining sweet with spicy, and proteins with produce, you can come up with simple, satisfying salads, he said.
1/2 cup soy sauce1/2 cup sukiyaki sauce 1/2 cup water2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root2 teaspoons minced garlic1 cup frisee1 cup red leaf lettuce1/4 cup green onions, sliced1 bunch radishes, sliced1/2 cup jicama, julienned1 pound assorted cured dried meats (pancetta, toscano, soppressata, fennel sausage, etc.)Whisk together soy sauce, sukiyaki sauce, water, ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Combine the frise, red leaf lettuce, green onions, radishes, and jicama in a larger bowl. Toss lightly with the dressing. To serve arrange the salad on a platter, and display the charcuterie around it. If desired serve an assortment of mustards and pickles alongside. Serves 4.
2 cups mixed spicy greens (rocket, mizuna, Belgium endive, etc.)1/2 cup sliced radishes2 navel oranges, cut into supremes1/2 cup fresh orange juice1 Tablespoon Honey1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil1 pound smoked salmonBring orange juice to a boil and reduce by half. Whisk in honey and olive oil. Mix greens and radishes in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing. Arrange on four plates.Top each salad with orange supremes and sliced salmon. Serves 4.Sue Barham is the marketing director for Restaurant Avondale and Larkspur Restaurant. Avondale recently opened in The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon. The restaurant features a West Coast inspired, seasonal menu and the chefs use time-honored cooking methods, such as slow roasting and braising, to create simple dishes rich in flavor. The wine program focuses on small production wines to compliment the straightforward cuisine. For more information visit http://www.avondalerestaurant.com.