Breakfast Radish, Not Just For Breakfast

As a kid, we always had a garden. My dad cleverly utilized all available yard, planting things about and in between.  The thing I do now, which he didn’t, is garden year around.  Another thing he didn’t do is make pesto with radish greens.

February was the start of my late-winter garden.  What didn’t happen in my haste to get items planted was spreading things out.  We’ve enjoyed an onslaught of beautiful French breakfast radishes for the last month, despite nibbles from a few snails and slugs.

I’ve discovered ways to enjoy the radish bulb beyond slices in salads: roasted like root vegetables or quickly sautéed with something salty and savory like pancetta or anchovies for a polenta topping or a side dish.

But if you want a simple, quick and mostly healthy snack dip a radish in radish green pesto.  The combo is satisfyingly delicious.  The best part is finding a use for these sometimes-fuzzy leaves that can get thicker and unappealing but you (I) don’t necessarily want to throw them away.

Just Picked French Breakfast Radishes

A small food processor works well but a blender will do.  Wash and pull the leaves off the stem the best you can.  Throw about a packed cupful in along with a chopped garlic clove, a few tablespoons of roughly chopped almonds, pepitas or walnuts, and a large pinch of flat leaf parsley and/or cilantro.  Pulse briefly then start with a few tablespoons of olive oil. You can make it thicker, leaving small pieces chunky or process it smoother.  Add a bit of grated cheese- Parmigiano, Asiago, Pecorino- if you’d like. Taste it.  Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice and salt if needed.  I added a few shakes of red pepper flakes too.  It’s all about what you like, satisfying your buds.

I’ve ventured out adding mint, along with thawed peas, which add a touch of sweetness.   The finished product likes to get spread on crackers and ended up on grilled fish too, among other things.

Call it a rendition of pesto, chermoula, spread or whatever.  Radishes grow just about year around so it will be delightful to share with friends this summer.

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