After a long Winter, everyone is eager for Spring. It’s so wonderful to go into farmers’ martkets and co-op, or maybe you visit a local farm or are participate in Community Supported Agriculture, and see these first Spring vegetables arriving. Though I have planted my spring garden, all I currently see are little, encouraging green shoots and leaves, and so I was excited to find some beautiful radishes at the farmer’s market last weekend. I was tempted to slice them up immediately and spread them on whole wheat bread with a nice slab of butter sprinkled with Maldon salt (on of my favorite ways to eat new spring radishes), but I held off in order to make a version of the “Thyme Farrotto with Roasted Radishes and Radish Greens,” from the wonderful cookbook “Whole Grains for a New Generation.”
I didn’t have any farro in the house, so I substituted wheat berries, which are similar (though do take quite a long time to cook). I cooked the wheat berries in vegetable stock and thyme , and when it was soft but toothsome, finished it with a tablespoon of butter and a bit more yogurt (instead of the creme fraiche in the original recipe. Meanwhile, I roasted the radishes and greens (after tossing in olive oil, salt and pepper) until the radishes browned and started to shrivel, and the greens crisped. While they look beautiful here (and in the cookbook) the greens will be easter to eat if you chop them a bit first! This simple recipe really let the radishes shine.
I like noodles in a bowl. All kinds of noodles, with all kinds of toppings though, in general, I always lean towards spicy and savory and Asian influenced. One of the best ways to use vegetables is to pick diverse colors, flavors and textures, chop them up, and throw them into a bowl with some soba noodles. For the above noodle bowl I used all kinds of Spring green things I had from my CSA – radish greens, green onions, new garlic, cilantro, and shredded carrots. I lightly fried some local “fake” chicken from Nature’s Soy in sesame oil, and mixed everything with cold buckwheat soba noodless and a basic Asian noodle dressing:
2 Tbs. soy sauce
3 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. mirin (rice wine, substitute natural maple syrup, honey, or white wine)
chili sauce or flakes, to your liking
I also love the look of black roasted sesame seeds, and almost always add those, too for flavor and garnish. A perfect cold salad with endless variations! Cold vegan salads like these also travel well – make a giant bowl and take it to a picnic or potluck.
Did you know that you can use EVERY part of the radish? My CSA was filled with radishes this month. Not being much of a radish eater, I had to search around for recipes and ideas, and have already found many. I made a soup with the peppery radish greens and some homemade vegetable broth and yogurt.
I used the radishes, along with some baby kale, in a delicious, buttery toast topping.
You can find both recipes in the posting I did for Farm to Philly this week.