The great thing about radishes is that I know I can grow them myself. I did it one summer when I was eight or nine. That was the first and last time, because somebody had to eat all those radishes, and I didn’t really like them. I had grown them because someone had done it in a book I’d read and because they were such a pretty color.
They’re still a bit much for me — spicy and chewy enough that, like most people, I like them best in tiny slivers as a salad topping. Some are inspired by the beautiful color to carve them into garnishes, but I’ve never been good at that.
So what to do when a load of radishes turns up in the vegetable bin? Well, a few years ago I belatedly discovered radishes could be cooked, and that made the taste much milder. They were recommended as a potato substitute for people on low-carb diets, so I tried grating them and making hash browns — which tasted a lot like the potato version, but crisper.
Radish home fries weren’t so successful — probably because I was trying to cook them through and brown them at the same time.
But radishes make even better potato pancakes than potatoes do, and they’re quicker. No peeling required, you can mix them up in a food processor, and they don’t need as much time or as much oil to crisp up beautifully.
- 2 cups small to medium radishes (about 12 to 15)
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup flour (blending flour is best)
- ½ tsp. salt
- Oil for frying
- Wash the radishes.
- If any are larger than roughly golf ball size, cut them in half.
- Chop them in a food processor for a few seconds till pieces are about the size of rolled oats.
- If there are any large but thin slices on the walls of the bowl, leave them intact — a few of those make the finished dish prettier.
- Now add the egg, flour, and salt, and pulse for just a couple of seconds to blend everything into a smooth batter.
- In a heavy frying pan (cast iron works really well), over medium high flame, heat enough vegetable oil to cover the pan’s surface.
- When the oil is sizzling, carefully slide a tablespoon of batter into it and flatten with a spatula.
- Repeat till the batter is gone or at least till the pan is full.
- After three to five minutes, or as soon as one of the cakes seems to be growing more solid, check with a spatula to see if the undersides are browning.
- When they are done, flip the cakes.
- Let the other sides cook only a couple of minutes as they’ll go faster.
- When browned lightly on both sides, serve right away, with sour cream, bacon bits, or both.