Ah radishes. The jewels of late Spring. Their shameless red skin against the dank, soggy soil: a beacon that heralds the imminent arrival of summer’s full show. The invigorating kick of heat that brings hope during the Hungry Gap. Quick. Easy. Tasty. There’s no downside to a radish.

I mixed up a few seed packets this season which has left me with a row of radishes of multiple and dubious origin. The result is much hilarity in the kitchen in the form of a Radish Russian Roulette: some are sweet and mild, others could be used as an alternative to pepper spray. Still, putting aside the irregularity of heat, the crop is abundant, unspoiled (even the flee beetles think it’s too cold to bother) and has grown from seed to crop without fuss in less than 4 weeks. You really do just sprinkle the seeds in some soil, cover them lightly with earth, water and wait. I say again, there is no downside to a radish.

And so to some recipes, which, I might add, are as fuss free as the growing:

Caramelised Radishes with Feta:

The idea for this came after a wander around the UK radish growers’ marketing group website (who knew?!) where I found Xanthe Clay’s caramelised radish recipe, which got me thinking….

  • bunch of trimmed, washed radishes
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • large knob of butter
  • feta

Melt the butter gently in a frying pan. Just as it starts to bubble add the radishes, salt and sugar. Toss the radishes in the buttery juices for 3-4 minutes and serve with the feta crumbled on top. That’s it. I told you – fuss free.

Pickled Radish and Cucumber Salad

Radish is great around anything vaguely Scandinavian. Like smoked fish. Or beetroot. I have neither in the fridge. But I do have cucumber so I can make the base of a very versatile dish:

  • bunch of trimmed, washed radishes
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of Moscatel vinegar (or any sweet-sour vinegar like white balsamic)

Slice the cucumber into long thin strips using a speed peeler. Toss them in a little salt and and leave for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the radishes tissue paper thin. Wipe the salt off the cucumber with a dry kitchen towel and toss together with the radish and a dash of vinegar. Depending on your vinegar choice, you may want to add a little sugar.

Leave the flavours to mingle for a few minutes and serve:

Pickled cucumber and radish salad

If the people you cook for would mutiny at the very idea of such a frugal meal (mine would), you can add aforementioned beetroot and smoked salmon to create a meal for sturdier folk that’s heaven with rye bread.

Radish Slammer

Radish slammer

  • radish
  • flakey salt
  • soft un-salted butter

Like a tequila slammer but without the headache. Line up as pictured. Bite the tip off the radish. Drag the radish through the butter. Dip in the salt. Eat. Whole. Blissful.