Lunch with added crunch: Skye Gyngell cooks with radishes

I tend to think of radishes – sweet and peppery with a watery crunch – as being particularly English. But having said that, some of the nicest ways to eat them are in the style of the French: simply washed and dragged through aioli and served with other young vegetables such as carrots, cucumber and small ripe tomatoes.

I don't know whether there is any truth to this, but whenever I bite into a radish, I can't help but remember what my father used to say about these delicious little veg: if you were healthy, he'd tell me, they would taste sweet; if not, they would taste overpoweringly peppery.

My favourite variety are breakfast radishes, possibly because they are the prettiest, with a slightly oval shape and clean white tip. Like many summer-root vegetables, they are best when eaten almost straight from the ground.

Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 7605 3627, petershamnurseries.com

Glazed radishes

Although it may seem an odd idea, radishes are also very good when they are cooked – their outer layer dissolves into the palest pink and their flavour becomes subtle. It is a very good accompaniment alongside fish or, as pictured here, simply grilled rabbit. Sometimes I poach a chicken in a light stock, adding herbs and radishes a few minutes before the end, slicing the chicken before ladling it in to warm soup bowls with the vegetables alongside.

Serves 4

500g/1lb radishes, well washed
2 sprigs of thyme
1 fresh bay leaves
40g/11/2oz unsalted butter
Enough chicken stock or water to just cover the vegetables
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash the radishes well under cool running water and put in a fairly small, heavy-based saucepan. Add the thyme, bay and butter and cover with the stock, but do not season at this point. Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat slightly and cook the radishes for 10 minutes. Now remove the radishes using a slotted spoon and set aside. Turn the heat to high and reduce the liquid by two-thirds. Return the radishes to the pan to warm through. Finish with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and enough salt to satisfy.

Carpaccio of wild sea trout with radishes and bronze fennel

The slightly fatty texture of the trout is very nicely balanced by the cool watery crunch of fresh radishes. Bronze fennel is not essential, but it is growing in abundance in my garden right now.

Serves 4

600g/11/4lb very fresh fillet of sea trout, skin still on
4 tbsp fruity extra-virgin olive oil
The juice of half a lemon
4 radishes
A few sprigs of bronze fennel leaves
2 tsp sea salt
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper

Slice the fish in the direction of the grain – you will need a very sharp, fine knife in order to cut the fish as finely as possible. As you cut, lean against the skin, which will allow you to slice fine translucent pieces – and as you slice each piece, arrange it on to cool plates (the fish should cover the surface of each plate without overlapping). It is important to slice the fish just before serving. Drizzle with the olive oil and lemon. Wash the radishes and slice them also as finely as you can, then scatter over the surface of the fish along with the fronds of fennel. Lastly, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Radishes with butter and sea salt

I like to place this on the middle of the table at the start of a meal for all to take as they please; the recipe below is for individual portions – just multiply according to your number of guests. It is very important that the butter itself be cold and unsalted; the salt should instead be a crystally garnish on the top. Accompany with thick slices of warm, preferably soda, bread.

Serves 1

5-6 radishes
50g/2oz butter
A little pool of coarse sea salt

Allow the butter to sit at room temperature until soft, then spoon into a small ramekin and smooth the top with a warm knife. Chill in the fridge. Wash the radishes well and pat dry. Leave the stalks on, but remove any that are torn or bruised. Arrange on a plate, place the butter alongside and finish with a little pile of salt.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz