So let’s talk about the things I don’t like.
Celery. Boletus mushrooms. Blue cheese. (Majorly.) Truffles. Hard boiled eggs. (See previous post.) Radishes.
The thing is, though, you can make me eat all of these things if you use them properly. (Not the blue cheese, though. Never, ever the blue cheese.) The right amount of celery in a well balanced, brothy soup will sing. I once had gnocchi that involved truffles at Little Bird, and I nearly cried. And a couple of diced, hard boiled eggs in tuna salad can be just the ticket, sometimes.
I have found that the flavor of radishes is well aided by a generous schmear of dairy products, something that I am generally in favor of. A hot pan has also given me reason to buy a little red bunch of punch for the past couple of springtimes. Last year I cooked them with garlic and anchovies for bruschetta. A couple of weeks ago, as Talia was on her way over for dinner, I pulled out some rice crackers, cream cheese, and scallions, and popped these together just before the doorbell rang.
If you’re looking to fancy these up further, the cream cheese is a good vehicle. Lemon zest, chives (chive flowers!), anchovy, verbena, go crazy. You could even pipe it into mini tart shells instead of serving it on a cracker. Here’s the simple route, easy and tasty.
Seared Radish and Cream Cheese Bites
First, sear yerself some radishes: cut off the greens, then slice a couple of radishes into 1/4″ discs. Roll them up in a tea towel for five minutes to remove excess moisture. While that happens, heat a small frypan over high heat, with clarified butter or oil that has a high smoke point, like peanut. When a drop of water sizzles violently in the fat, add the radishes. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat.
Spread a rice cracker with cream cheese, add a radish slice or two, and top with a bit of scallion green that’s been cut on a hard bias. Fresh-cracked pepper, anyone?
(I like this Little Bird, too.)