Friday, 20 April 2012

Seared Radishes with Radish Leaf Miso Pesto (Top-to-Toe Eating)


Nose-to-tail eating's one of those foodie trends that's been gaining steam. If you've read my blog for a while now you should know I'm a fan of ears and trotters and all parts weird and icky. It might have been a very recent trend following the brilliance of Fergus Henderson, but it's always been a part of my culture growing up. You know what they say about the Chinese eating everything. Don't waste anything, bones included (I don't mean to gnaw on, I mean stock). It just makes a lot more sense, for the environment and your own pocket, to fully use and appreciate all that has been sacrificed to feed your stomach.

I think we need to apply this to vegetables too. I've called it top-to-toe eating. It pains me to see people pluck the tops off beetroots, or the outer leaves off cauliflower, when the whole plant is perfectly good to eat. I don't even like throwing my carrot/celery/leek ends, I just collect them in a freezer bag and dump them into stock.

Anyway I bring this up because it's Earth Day this Sunday, and as I write this, the count stands at 987,884,392, quite a bit away from the billion acts of green they're aiming for. I thought I'll share this spring dish as a way to pledge three acts of green at a go: eating local (get your radishes from the local farmer's market now, they're bang in season), eating more vegetables (it's spring, no excuse), and reducing waste (nothing's going into the bin).


PAN-SEARED RADISHES W/ RADISH LEAF MISO PESTO
Ingredients
1 large bunch of whole radishes
1 small handful of toasted almonds (pine nuts are expensive)
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp naturally fermented white miso
generous pinch of unrefined sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
your favourite extra virgin olive oil
squeeze of lemon
2 tbsp clarified butter (don't use evoo, saturated fats are more stable for high heat cooking.)

Method
1. Prepare the radishes, separate tops from bottoms. Chop the bottoms into equal-sized pieces, halved or quartered if large. Wash the tops to remove any dirt from the leaves and roughly chop.
2. For the seared radishes, heat the clarified butter over medium-high heat, and when just sizzling, add the radishes cut-side down. Season, and sear until golden brown, about 5 min. Flip and repeat on the other side. If it had 3 sides, I kind of lazily ignored the last side.
3. For the pesto, combine all the ingredients except lemon in the food processor, adding the evoo as you g, enough to make a smooth paste. Finish with a squeeze of lemon. You can also do it by hand if you're enthusiastic. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days if submerged under oil.


If you've only ever had radishes raw in salads and such, you should give cooked ones a try. I don't mean mushy tasteless over-boiled radishes; pan-seared ones still retain a slight refreshing crunch. At the same time, their sharpness mellows, and their light sweetness comes through, a great contrast to the salty peppery pesto. It's nonsense that people are willing to pay for those little leaves for their salads when you can get just as tasty ones free. Radish leaves have a nice mustard-y bite to them, pretty much like rocket or watercress, giving a more assertive pesto that's brilliant just as a dip for good bread even, or with pasta (or going by the asian theme, dress glass noodles with it.)

If you really still can't be bothered with getting the food processor/mortar and pestle out, I did a really simple yummy top-to-toe radish stirfry last year. Hope that's got everyone inspired to start rummaging your bin for food.

30 comments:

  1. So glad you posted on my blog so that I found yours! I love your recipes and your photos are amazing :)

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  2. This is a fabulous idea! I like roasting radishes, but I've never tried pan-searing them--definitely and must-try! And I heartily approve of the pesto, and of the freezer vegetable scrap stockpile. :)

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  3. the blog is looking just stunning... I love the graphics you're doing with the recipes... divine!... really lovely recipe too x

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  4. amy: thanks! really glad to have been introduced to your blog too!

    little macaroon: wow I'm chuffed to hear that from a great photographer! thanks!

    eileen: I hate wasting food (:

    dom: Thanks dom! I'm still experimenting with these photos and graphics so it's nice to get a nod of affirmation (:

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  5. Love that radish graphic, you have such a gorgeous blog!

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  6. Shu Han - thank you so much for the compliment you left on my blog (about inspiration boards) - you're so sweet!
    I can't tell you how fantastic this post + recipe is!! I totally agree with you about all the parts. There's so much to do will all the bits of veggies and nothing should go to waste! A great reminder and offering of ideas xo

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    1. i really mean it! I love the way you combine colour and layout! glad you agree about using all the parts, I hate wastage!

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  7. I've admittedly have always opposed using radishes, but this has my mouth watering. I should try cooking them (I've never done it). Pesto also has a way of making everything delicious!

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    1. Cooking them helps to mellow their sharpness, and it tastes a little like turnip but crunchier. Haha pesto is always a good way to use up anything green you're unsure of.

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  8. I have cooked sweet baby turnips in butter but never radishes (although I adore buttered radishes and radish and turnip greens). This is a really nice dish, and your blog is looking gorgeous!

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    1. actually, radishes really do taste a bit like turnips, but with more of a crunch/bite, so I think you might cooked radishes (: thanks susan, I'm still playing around and looking for feedback (:

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  9. Hi Shu Han! I love the drawing here. Really creative and "clear" instructions! =D We always use the entire radish and Japanese likes using leaf part for many kinds of dishes. Miso pesto! I love that name. Very creative recipe and this dish looks beautiful too!

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    1. Oh trust the Japanese to use the entire radish ;) I know how much you all love this vegetable, it's used in so many ways, pickled, raw, sauted, in soup, yum yum. the miso adds the savouriness you would otherwise get with cheese, but makes this vegetarian-friendly, not to mention a lot cheaper than cheese, and there's a slight difference and depth in flavour that I enjoy!

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  10. Such a different use of radishes from my cheese spread! It looks gorgeous and so original! I sometimes add radish leaves to salads, but have never thought of making a pesto with them. I also have never cooked, fried etc. radishes only had them raw, so your recipe is full of discoveries!
    The photo+drawing is an excellent, creative idea! I see you quickly put into practice your resolutions. Thumbs up!

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    1. Glad to have inspired you in more ways than one! It's especially great to hear that from you, because I've always looked to your blog for new ideas! Thanks for the feedback, yay I'm relieved, still playing around and trying out ideas, glad that it's going down well so far !

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  11. I was looking for new ways to cook radishes since I have had them only on salads. THank you for sharing this really flavorful way of consuming another simple vegetable...

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  12. Erk, luckily I never had a mushy over-boiled radish (or even a slightly boiled one) thank goodness. I've pan-fried them lightly a few times and love them warm. I think it's a really interesting texture because they're not as tough as carrots, but still have a good bit of bite in them, while still being kinda watery and fresh at the same time. I like using veg greens too - I make pesto from carrot greens as well and it makes me feel great to not chuck stuff away. I'll have to remember this next time I have a big pile of radish greens because I never know what to do with those!

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  13. perhaps this should be called "leaf to root" eating instead :p I share the same philosophy as well, I can't bear to throw away parts which I still think are useful, so most of them end up in stock too! or revamped stews hehe

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  14. Oh I've got some radishes in the fridge...I'll give this a go Shu Han..I would never have thought of cooking them. Oh and I love the new blog layout...

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  15. I've never had this before but I like the colour of your dish. Looks appetising!

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  16. Really pretty looking and tasty dish-great idea Shu Han!

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  17. charles: I actually have not tried pesto from carrot greens. hmm now you got me interested. the spring carrots with their green tops haven't yet arrived here, but will do so once they have!

    janine: haha top to toe sounded more catchy, but yes leaf to root is probably more accurate! hehe good to see im not alone!

    debby: I think most people always have them raw in salads, but I like having vegetables cooked, they're easier to digest that way too, and their flavour develops I feel (:

    cheah: thanks!

    Green dragonette:aw, thanks!

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  18. This looks incredible; I've actually never thought of making pesto out of anything but basil or spinach. Suppose it should have been obvious. I'll have to give it a try!

    Also wanted to let you know I've selected you for a Liebster Blog Award! Check it out and keep up the good work: http://farmpartment.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/mad-props-yo/

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  19. I have never though of eating them in other manner than raw - they look anyway delicious!

    Life and travelling
    Cooking

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  20. First of all, I haven't told you how stunning your new look blog is so well done! It is now looking so beautiful and so do your recipes.
    This is such a good dish and your photos have really emphasised just how good you are at cooking.....Wow!! x

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  21. I love eating radishes and its leave raw and fresh and this recipe of yours has me excited.

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  22. amy: thanks a lot!!

    ola: I know most people only think of radishes raw in salads, they are great cooked too!

    laura: aw thanks! I'm still experimenting so it's always nice to hear positive feedback(:

    shaheen: thanks!

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  23. Ah, so this is the radish leaf post you mentioned. Thanks for finding me, which lead me to your site. Love it it - we have much in common :-)

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  24. This is a brilliant post, elevating the humble radish to a proper vegetable. They are so easily overlooked. Thanks for sharing, Lee www.thebeachhousekitchen.wordpress.com

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