Roasted Radishes with Radish Green Pesto Recipe
When you have piles of radishes coming in from the garden you want to find every way to enjoy them. Since radishes especially during hot springs or mid summer harvests in summer can be very spicy it is good to know and understand what to do with them. If you aren’t a fan of raw radishes there is no worries because when you do roasting any spicy radish immediately becomes WAY more palatable. So if you are always saying you don’t like radishes for this reason roasting your radishes is a great way to take out the spice and enjoy them for their more complex and exciting flavors that sometimes get overtaken by their spice.
Before we get into the recipe, I want to talk about radishes and what types you should use for a recipe like this and other things to know:
- Radishes get spicy from temperature shifts. Some radish varieties are more prone to this or are just spicy in general, but a good radish grown properly should be sweet and spicy. Most of us know the red varieties in grocery stores and they aren’t grown well and are very spicy typically. Look instead to get french breakfast or other varieties from local farms.
- To identify a good radish, you want to make sure they are solid first and foremost. If the leaves have any flowering on them the radish will be spicy itself most likely because the bolting (flowering on the leaves identifies the radish was too warm or in the ground too long resulting in spice).
- The radish walls should NEVER give especially on french breakfast radishes. This can happen because of too much water in many cases.
- Watermelon radishes and black radishes are best eaten raw and not roasted. They are milder and if roasted will turn out more like turnips. You really want to use spicier radishes for this sort of dish. Though I like to toss in some turnips or other roots if I have them to this recipe as they will take on the pesto really well also.
Now let’s get to that recipe for you. It is quite simple…
Ingredients you need:
1 large bunch of radishes even 2 is good. If you don’t have too many but they are spicy add in a few turnips or a yellow beet to this dish. A kohlrabi can also work great!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot or 2 green garlic or garlic scapes chopped roughly
Salt and Pepper to taste
Greens from the Radishes a good handful is all you need. You only need a half of what a bunch of radishes will give you. You can reserve the rest for veggie broth or make additional pesto using this recipe and freeze.
2 tbsp Olive Oil (use the really good stuff if you have it)
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/4 cup pine nuts (if you want alternatives see this post for more ideas of nut and see alternatives)
1 Garlic clove
I like to serve this on a bed of greens and let the pesto dress the greens underneath. You can use nearly any green you have on hand or in the garden like pea shoots, spring mix, butterhead…truly any nice mild green will be great.
To Cook the dish you will do the following:
– Begin by heating the oven to 400 degrees and placing a silicone mat or parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet.
Half or quarter the radishes and any other root veggies you decide to add and place them on the baking sheet. Roughly chop your garlic/shallot/scapes whatever you have on hand. I have even use ramp bulbs as well.
Drizzle them with the tbsp of Olive Oil
Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper
Toss them to coat evenly. Get your hands in there because this is the best way to get the veggies well coated.
Then spread them evenly on the baking sheet and make sure they aren’t touching or overlapping at all. This will insure they get a good crisp on them.
Once the oven has preheated place them in the middle and let cook for 20 minutes or until getting crispy on the edges and the skin wrinkles.
The pesto is the most fun to make. Though you can toss all the ingredients into a food processor and it is ready in a second, I really have enjoyed learning traditional ways of doing things lately. I learned how to make pesto recently using a mortar and pestle like they have for centuries in Italy. It has a completely unique texture and helps to open the aromatics of the herbs and greens you are using. It also helps remove the oils from the nuts or seeds you are using. You will need a softer nut if you choose to do this, but I highly suggest giving this a go if you have one.
If you do not all you need to do is add the pesto ingredients into the food processor or blender as I do here. Then it is ready. That’s it.
If you do decide to use the mortar and pestle you will want to first add the garlic clove and nuts to the bowl and mash and grind them. Then you will want to add the greens with some course salt. The course salt is pretty essential. I love Maldon for this. Give a good pinch and then start beating and grinding the greens and if you have chosen to add any herbs. It is a good workout but it is amazing to watch the greens break down. If you do it this way, make sure to remove the stems. I learned this the hard way. If you are doing it in a food processor that isn’t necessary. Continue to crush them and then add a little more if you would like or have to do it in batches. Then you will want to add the lemon juice and mix in and then finally the olive oil. Keep crushing and grinding till you reach the consistency of something similar to the above.
By now the radishes should be done. You will want to allow them to cool and then mix them with the pesto till they are fully coated. Add the pesto a little at time till they coated. Save any additional pesto to make a dressing later in the week or add to a soup or even a pasta dish.
Serve the roasted radishes on the greens and top with a little more pepper and some chive blossoms or another herb flower if you have them in the garden.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we do. I make some sort of rendition of this once a week in late spring as a great lunch or salad.