Radishes are a seriously underappreciated vegetable. I could list all the reasons I love radishes (their pretty pink color, their crisp raw crunch, their sweet punchy flavor). But the real reason I adore radishes above all other early spring veggies is that I can grow them – fast. I love that moment, that thrill of pulling up on the bright little greens and seeing the pretty pink root beneath the dirt. Radishes mature in just a few weeks, and are very forgiving. They grow well in beds or in containers, they love cool weather, and will do just fine with only 5-6 hours of sun per day.
Radishes and butter are a natural combination. In France, raw radishes are served with sweet butter and flaky salt as a lively spring hors d’oeuvres. In my own kitchen, I adore radishes braised with butter and dill as a sophisticated side dish with grilled salmon. But for a simple spring snack, this super quick double radish tarine hits the spot.
There is something about gardening that makes me feel frugal. With all the care and attention I’ve given these radishes, I don’t want to waste even a morsel. Which is why I’ve started using the radish greens, and I’m loving them! Baby radish greens are wonderful in salad, and more mature radish greens are tasty sautéed with garlic. Finely chopped, the radish greens make the herb butter in this tartine a really exciting spread. This herb butter would be great on grilled fish, or tossed with pasta, and it’s great on pumpernickel bread. If you wanted to make this tartine a more substantial meal, a few thin sliced of hard-cooked egg would be a great addition.
Double Radish Tartine
8 slices whole grain pumpernickel bread
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely chopped baby radish greens
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh radishes
Toast the bread until crisp. Allow the toast to cool (you do not want the butter to melt on the toast). Whip the softened butter with an electric mixer. Fold in the radish greens, half the dill, the chives, and the salt. Spread the butter on each of the pieces of toast. Arrange the radish slices on top of the butter and sprinkle with the remaining dill and additional salt to taste. Serve as a light lunch or snack, or cut each tartine into four triangles and serve as party finger food for your next picnic.