Roasted Radishes With Radish Green Pesto and Crème Fraîche

May 11, 2020 Updated: May 11, 2020

Roasted Radishes With Radish Green Pesto and Crème Fraîche

I know I am not alone in my love for cooked radishes, or radishes in general, but I must say they have taken on a whole new dimension since I have started cooking them. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they are delicate and juicy and complement simple meat and fish dishes so well, especially in spring.

When good local radishes pop up in farmer’s markets (and supermarket ones are usually pretty good too), their greens are too good to throw away—this pesto makes good use of them, and the leftovers (you won’t need all of it here) can be used to dress a pasta dish, spread on toast, or whisk into salad dressings.

Serves 6 to 8

For the radishes:

  • 2 bunches radishes, 1/2 inch of stem left on, cut in half lengthwise if large, and greens reserved
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche

For the pesto:

  • 2 bunches reserved radish greens
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

To roast the radishes: Toss the radishes with the oil, salt, and some pepper on a baking sheet, coating the radishes well. Spread out evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once or twice, until golden brown.

Meanwhile, make the pesto: Pick over the radish greens, discarding any yellow or brown ones. Immerse them in cold water, swishing them around to remove the sand and grit. Repeat if needed, and if they were at all wilted, let them sit in the water until they are lively again. Spin dry, then place in the bowl of a food processor along with the pistachios, oil, lemon zest, cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. Process until nearly smooth.

To assemble: Spread the crème fraîche on the bottom of a flat platter. Put the radishes on top and drizzle with 2 to 3 tablespoons pesto, or as desired. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and serve.

Tip

When arranging vegetables for roasting, leave a little more negative space toward the center of the baking sheet and crowd the edges a bit more. The center tends to steam, while the edges brown better.

Timing Tips

Up to 1 day ahead: Make the pesto; trim the radishes and store them in water in the fridge.

Up to 1 hour ahead: Roast the radishes.

At the last minute: Assemble the platter.

Recipe reprinted with permission from “Open Kitchen” by Susan Spungen, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright 2019 by Susan Spungen.