Gardening, I’ve decided, is a fickle beast. Just as the oregano I’ve been keeping a careful, nurturing eye on withers under my gaze, and I’m resigned to the fate of forever struggling with nature, I discover a singular blooming radish in an almost-forgotten pot in the corner of the balcony. Next to them, a respectable gathering of mache (or Lamb’s tongue) and something else unidentifiable. The product of a scattered seed mix, many months ago.
Radish. Raphanus sativus. Or more specifically, the red round radish (Cherry Belle, Scarlet Globe, Red Boy and Comet being some of the attractive names associated with this variety), as there are many other types, including the french breakfast radish and the daikon radish. It is a proud member of the mustard or cabbage family; a family I’m incredibly fond of (brussel sprouts and broccoli being two of my favourite vegetables), I might add.
The flavour of the radish is, to quote Jimbo Jones of the Simpsons, “.. like an apple did it with an onion”. Along with their equally edible leaves, crisp and peppery radishes are great sliced raw and added to salads. I love the contrast in colour between the bright red outter skin and the white inner flesh, with a pale pink hue segueing between the two. So highly prized was it centuries ago, (and I don’t know how true this is, but..) it was apparently even used as payment during the building of the pyramids in ancient Egypt.
Pyramids notwithstanding, I prize my singular radish for it’s ability to thrive rather unexpectedly. The ultimate compliment for such unacknowledged work would be to eat it. Freeing it from it’s potted home, the decision was now down to, should it go into a small radish and fennel salad (a la Jamie Oliver) or a sandwich as per Stephanie Alexander’s recomendation. Stephanie won this round, mostly because the filling involved a generous amount of butter, slices of radish and strips of anchovy, along with some mache I threw in for good measure. A singularly simple and satisfying snack. Even the Fraggles might have approved.
The task of hosting this week’s WHB returns to it’s founder, the wonderful Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen. Check her roundup for other great WHB related ideas and recipes.