When I saw these two posts on radishes over at Kalyn’s Kitchen, I was intrigued but not driven to make them. But over the next few days, this one called sauteed radishes with vinegar and herbs remained on my mind. And when I say it remained on my mind, I mean I was virtually obsessed with it. I had to have it. So I bought a bunch of radishes at the store and prepared to make it. As fate would have it, it took me another week to actually get it in the pan.
This morning, I decided I would quickly throw it together while Will napped. I made a few minor adjustments – using regular balsamic vinegar instead of golden balsamic, substituting extra light olive oil (since it’s cooked at such a high temperature, the good properties of extra virgin olive oil with be lost in the mix), and eliminating the herb finish. I just didn’t have any to use.
So how did it come out? Um, except for the five bits I saved for Will to try (since I think he will love it too), it didn’t make it to lunch. My one little bite (to try it out, of course) turned into two, which turned into almost the entire two-serving batch. This is a you-have-to-try-it dish.
But when I sat down to write this and started loading up the photos, which is always my first step to blogging, I got a little misty eyed. No, no, it’s not that the radishes were all gone! It’s that I realized this is a dish that my grandmother would have loved. She may have preferred simpler preparations to complex in her cooking, but she adored good food, good company and good conversation. Unfortunately, since she passed away when I was just 14, I never had the opportunity to cook for her.
I wonder what she would say if I could cook her some of my favorite dishes? If I could have just one more day with her, I would prepare an exquisite day of food at the house by the beach where we spent every summer. For breakfast, it would be broiled grapefruit with toast and some good, freshly ground coffee. For lunch, seared tuna with sesame-soy drizzle over sliced avocado and some fresh sweet corn. For dinner, we would have fresh, homemade bread, homemade manicotti, a tossed salad and these delicious sauteed balsamic radishes. And for dessert? My dark chocolate mousse with fresh whipped cream. It would be a delicious day.
But really, if I could have just one more day, cooking wouldn’t be my total focus — although I’d want to spoil her with my time-developed skills. The focus would be on making the most of every single moment — making sure that she could enjoy Will, her great grandson, talking incessantly about everything she has missed and everything I hope for the future, showing off the photos from my graduations, wedding, Will’s birth and my latest ultrasound photos. Essentially, I would try to cram 13 years into a day.
I can’t have this day of my dreams. But maybe, someday, in some other dimension I will be able to. Who knows?
For now, I have my memories to share with my children, and old photos to help me go back in time, if only for a minute. And I have my cooking . . . to create new memories with my living family so that one day they can look back fondly too.
Radishes are a root plant with edible leaves (you can wash them and use them in salads if they are extra fresh). Although raw radishes have a pepper-y flavor, the intensity is greatly calmed when you saute them a bit. In terms of nutrition, radishes are low in calories (only two calories per radish) but rich in potassium (47.6 mg of potassium per radish, which is 1 percent of your daily intake. So if you eat 10, then you have 10 percent of your daily intake.) and even richer in vitamin C (8 percent of your daily intake per radish – wow!).
- 1 tbsp extra light olive oil
- 1 bunch red radishes, , ends trimmed and quartered lengthwise
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the radishes and balsamic vinegar. Cover with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- Cook radishes, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes. The radishes are done when they are browned and slightly softened (they could still be a bit crisp too).
- Remove from heat and serve immediately with an extra sprinkle of sea salt.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.