Thursday, June 21, 2012
I always buy radishes in the spring. They're so colorful, peeking out from rows and rows of baby greens and asparagus at the market. Especially these Easter egg ones - a purple vegetable will always have a special place in my heart. But here's what happens. I get excited when I see them. I buy them and take them home. They sit in the fridge, lonely and sad, until they get all wrinkly and semi-soft, and then... I throw them away.
That is crazy talk.
Thing is, until I thought of this idea, I did not know what to do with a whole bunch of radishes. A single solitary radish thinly sliced and mixed with salad greens? That I can handle. A whole bunch? What do I look like, some kind of radish fiend? I can't handle that much radish action. For how cute and pastel-colored they are, those suckers are spicy and assertive!
Speaking of things that are cute and pastel-colored, but can be spicy and assertive... we are expecting a little baby girl! She should make her big debut in November, and we can't wait to meet her. In the past couple of days, I've been thinking about what a weighty responsibility it is to teach a girl how to be a woman. There's just so much I want to make sure she knows, so much that I hope for her life.
I want to teach her that she should only laugh when boys are actually being funny, not just because they're being boys. I want her to be healthy and happy in her own skin. I want her to have a soaring imagination and a fabulous sense of humor. And I want her to know how to take a vegetable she doesn't really love and turn it into pink pickles!
This is my new favorite thing to do with radishes. I've tried cooking them, and it wasn't bad. It's just that, ok, what gives a radish its inherent radish-ness? It's crispy and spicy. If you cook it, it's soft and not spicy. It's not horrible, it just doesn't really remind me of a radish anymore. These pickles take radishes to the next level - they don't have the same raw bite, but they're still crispy and a little spicy.
Substitute these any place a normal pickle would go. One delicious option: piled on buttered toast, and sparingly salted. Actually, taste first to see if they need salt, since the brine is already pretty salty.
1 bunch radishes, any variety, washed and sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed peppercorns
Pack the sliced radishes and the garlic into a pint Mason jar. In a medium saucepan, combine water, vinegar, salt and sugar over medium heat and stir until dissolved. Add the peppercorns and pour the brine over the radishes. Screw the lid on tightly and allow to come to room temperature. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Voila pickles!
Can be kept in the refrigerator up to a month.
Yield: one pint.