If you garden, the first jewels of the growing season are often beautiful, orbital or oblong, fiery or sweet spring dug radishes. The nip in the night air is just right for cold tolerant veggies like arugula, kale, peas, and delicate lettuces, but radishes are the satisfying first pull from a not-yet-overgrown produce patch. I usually braise them in butter to serve simply alongside grilled salmon, or chop them into fine matchsticks for taco night, but my most recent discovery is THE way to celebrate the radish as is, fit for service all on its own, right when they are at their peak.
You'll need proficient knife skills or a mandoline for this, but if you're using a mandoline, for the love of your beautiful hands - please be careful, use a cut glove, or the provided safety guard that comes with all models. I like this one.
Feel free to use whatever radishes there are at the store, but be on the lookout for less conventional varieties like watermelon (which are hot pink on the inside), green, and purple versions. If you like less bite, the long, white-tipped French breakfast radishes are the mildest of the bunch. I found these beauties at one of my favorite markets for odd-ball produce Russo's
Radishes. The cuter, the better. Roasted pistachio oil. Crunchy finishing salt like Maldon. Nigella seeds (optional).
Slice up your radishes paper thin. Arrange on a plate however you like. Drizzle lightly with pistachio oil, sprinkle with salt and nigella seeds. Inhale.
I know what you're thinking. It sounds cold and wet and not delightful, but there is something so harmonious between the lightly bitter bite of the crisp vegetable, the toasty and rich flavor of the oil, and that pop of texture and salinity from the salt. It's a great addition to a cocktail party spread, or simply as a way to celebrate the return of spring.