I ate my first radish after watching Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theater. Do you remember that series? Maybe it was a little dark for children, but I loved it and thought Shelley Duvall was the bomb as Rapunzel.
If you remember the story, it all starts when Rapunzel’s mother develops a serious pregnancy craving for radishes, specifically the radishes topped with blue leaves growing in her neighbor’s garden. Unfortunately, instead of just going next door and asking the neighbor for some radishes, or even offering to pay for the radishes, her husband decides that he is going to scale the garden wall in the middle of the night and steal them.
If it had been Texas or Florida, he would have just been shot on sight, but since it’s Faerie Tale-land, the neighbor just takes their first-born.
Did I mention that she’s a witch?
That really got my 7 year-old brain working. What food would be so good that it would cause you to ignore common sense (don’t break, enter and steal from witches)? I had to get one of these radish-things. They must, I thought, be amazing!
After pestering my parents, they finally came home from the market with a nice bunch of radishes. They were so pretty: bright red on the outside and snowy white on the inside. No blue leaves, but I could deal with the thought of that particular variety being unavailable at our local supermarket.
I put one in my mouth, chewed . . . and spat it right back out. Blech! Stupid fairy tale!
I pretty much avoided radishes after that until I was 14 and was served them in France. Not wanting to be impolite, I followed my host family’s lead and slathered the offensive root with butter before popping it in my mouth.
Imagine my shock: the radish wasn’t offensive at all. It was . . . delicious!
And I have loved them ever since.
These little toasts can hardly be considered a recipe; they are just something that I love to have for lunch when radishes are in season. I really like using Finnish Ruis bread made by NYC-based Nordic Breads (the best Ruis bread ever). Nordic Breads ships their rounds anywhere, but in a pinch, any good rye bread will do as long as it is sliced thinly.
I’m not paid to say this about Nordic Breads at all, I just think their bread is wonderful :-)
Finnish Ruis bread, or any thinly sliced good rye bread
Radishes, thinly sliced
Good soft butter
Good sea salt
How to prepare:
1. If using Finnish Ruis bread, cut each round into halves or quarters before splitting them through the middle. Toast the bread and let it cool completely.
2. When the bread is cool, spread the soft butter evenly over the top of each piece. Arrange the sliced radishes on top and sprinkle them with good, flaky sea salt. Eat immediately.