Roasted Radishes With Honey Butter & Thyme
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I’ve never been a fan of radishes. As a kid, the only time I ever remember eating radishes was in salad. Always that flavourless garden salad made with iceberg lettuce (which may as well just be called “crispy water”), shredded carrots and sliced radishes, topped with some boring store-bought salad dressing. So uninspiring!
But when I started growing food, I couldn’t help but start a few radish seeds each spring. Radishes are hands-down the quickest crop to produce a harvest in the garden, with roughly three to four weeks from seed to harvest.
The first couple years that I grew them, I still didn’t like them. They were too spicy for my tastes to eat fresh and I really had no desire to recreate the boring garden salads from my childhood. So I often ended up harvesting them and then storing them in the fridge. Inevitably, they went soft and ended up in the compost. It seemed growing radishes was a bit of an exercise in futility, and I almost gave up on them all together.
But then I discovered an heirloom variety of radishes called French Breakfast Radishes. These are long and cylindrical rather than short and round. These radishes are absolutely beautiful, with a fuchsia/red colour at the top that fades to pink and then white at the bottom.
They’re truly one of the prettiest vegetables we grow! And I actually much prefer their flavour to other radishes as I find it a bit more mild. But still, I can’t say I LOVE eating radishes fresh out of the garden, so I was determined to find a way to prepare them so that I (and my family) would actually enjoy them. Otherwise, I couldn’t justify having them take up space in the garden –beautiful as they are– if they were just going to end up in the compost.
Roasting radishes was a total game changer
Around the same time that I was pondering my radish dilemma, I found my inspiration. I happened to be flipping through one of my cookbooks stumbled across a recipe for honey roasted radishes.
Roasted radishes! Why had I never thought of this? Why had I never HEARD of this?? Why are radishes still being relegated to boring garden salads when they could be roasted and caramelized in honey butter instead???
While I may never know the answers to these questions, I do know that ever since I tried roasting our homegrown radishes, I’ve not only grown to like radishes, they’ve actually become one of my favourite vegetables to prepare and eat out of our garden!
While fresh radishes are crunchy and slightly spicy, roasting radishes softens them (like roasted carrots) and takes the spice right out of them!
I came across the original recipe in the cookbook Cedar + Salt, a locally written and produced cookbook that focuses on recipes featuring food that’s grown (either cultivated or wild foraged) on Vancouver Island where I live.
While the original recipe is delicious as it is, I’ve increased the amount of honey butter used as the amount in the original recipe never seemed to be quite enough to fully coat all of the radishes. I decided to add a bit of fresh thyme also since I find that thyme compliments the other flavours in this dish really well. However feel free to omit the thyme if you like and/or adjust the amount of honey butter to suit your tastes.
Later, I started using the radish greens in this dish and roast them right alongside the radishes themselves. I discovered that they’re actually one of the best parts, and I highly encourage you to use them too! But feel free to omit them if you like, or put your radish greens to use by making radish top pesto instead.
How to prepare roasted radishes with honey butter & thyme
To prepare roasted radishes with honey butter & thyme, start by preheating your oven to 425ºF. Then wash the radishes and trim the ends off.
I just snap the leaves right off and then trim the long roots off the ends of the radishes. You could leave the roots if you want and/or you can trim the greens off the top leaving just an inch of so of green tops right on the radishes.
Slice radishes in half lengthwise and set aside. Rough chop the leaves and add them to the bowl. (You can add all of the leaves, some of the leaves of none of the leaves!)
If using thyme, grab a few springs of fresh thyme and toss them right in the bowl with the radishes and greens. If using dried thyme, only add about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon max otherwise the thyme may overpower the dish.
Then mix up a batch of honey butter by combining honey and butter in a glass bowl or measuring cup and heating. I like to mix about 1/4 cup of salted butter and 2 tablespoons of honey, but you can adjust the ratio and amounts to your liking).
Either heat in a microwave for a few seconds until melted or on the stove in a double boiler. Mix the honey and butter together as best you can as I find they tend to separate. So, just be sure to mix again right before you pour onto the radishes.
How to roast radishes
Pour the honey butter over the radishes, herbs and greens and toss it all together until everything is coated in honey butter. Then dump everything onto a baking sheet and everything out in a single layer (as best you can). Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle a pinch of fresh sea salt over everything to taste. Serve roasted radishes hot alongside chicken, red meats, eggs or even on their own!
If you’ve got leftovers, store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat leftover roasted radishes, heat just a small amount of butter or oil in a pan on medium high (cast iron is preferred). Sauté the radishes and greens until warmed through and slightly caramelized.
Whether you’re a radish lover or hater…
Whether you love radishes or you hate them, please don’t give up on them until you try this recipe!
If you still hate them after eating them roasted, then by all means never grow or eat a radish again. But I have a feeling you’ll find new appreciation for radishes if you give this recipe a try. Then, like me, you’ll wonder where roasted radishes have been all your life.
Seriously, no need to thank me! But just in case, you’re welcome in advance;)