Radish Crostini

Crostini is the Italian word for a piece of toasted bread, and the word crostini instantly evokes a sense of contentment. Olive oil seeping into each slice, juicy tomatoes, creamy cheese, garlicky beans. It's the kind of thing I can make an entire meal out of in the summer.

Sometime during college I started ordering bruschetta at every restaurant that had it on the menu. It began seriously our sophomore year, when Andrew was taking a year of Italian and we visited a local restaurant recommended by his professor as being the most authentic in the area. We ordered bruschetta to start, naturally. It's so simple, really. Juicy tomatoes, basil ribbons, olive oil, not to mention the crunchy bread, but it's one of the most satisfying things to eat. I love that about food, and Italian food especially.

I love it with goat cheese and herbs, rubbed with garlic, dipped in soup, and now, with radishes. I tend to not pay much attention to radishes. They've always seemed boring, thinly sliced in salads to add some color but not much else. I also never thought to do anything but eat them raw. Turns out, roasting or sautéing does wonders for their flavor. My vegetable box came filled with produce that embodied summer, not only in the offerings themselves (zucchini, corn, tomatoes), but in how utterly beautiful everything looked. Andrew pulled out the loveliest bunch of plump radishes and they were so pretty I knew I couldn't let them go to waste. (It also came with the largest beet I've ever seen, the size of a grapefruit, that I'm still deciding what to do with.)


Recipe adapted from the New York Times

The recipe used two pans, one to cook the radishes, and the other for the sauce. I saw no sense in having another pot to wash, so I modified the the cooking method, and eliminated the anchovies since I didn't have any in the fridge.

1 bunch radishes
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked pepper
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
8 slices crusty bread, toasted
4 teaspoons chopped parsley

1. Remove leaves and stems from radishes; trim the tails. Cut larger radishes lengthwise into about six slices and smaller radishes into quarters.

2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, radishes in a single layer, and salt and pepper. Cook radishes, without moving them, until they are lightly colored on undersides, about 3 minutes. Shake the pan and continue cooking until they are tender, about 3 more minutes. Remove radishes from the skillet.

3. In the same pan, melt butter. Stir in garlic, red pepper, and a few more tablespoons of oil. Reduce heat and simmer about 4 minutes. Add the radishes back, along with the parsley and toss to combine.

4. Top each slice of toast with radish wedges and spoon additional sauce over the top.