Radishes & (Vegan) Butter: A Spring Treat in Perfect Balance
For those who haven't been introduced before, the idea of pairing raw radishes with butter can be a curious combination. However, the balance created by the radish's bite and the butter's richness is a delight to the senses.
Whether you're looking for a quick snack on a busy day or a fresh amuse bouche to keep your dinner guests at bay while you add the finishing touches to dinner, radishes and butter are a great no-heat option for those warmer days when you'd like to minimize time spent near a hot oven. Also, for those looking to minimize food waste, peep the link in the ingredients section for a way to use those radish greens!
While I'm not going to waste all of our time and energy with four paragraphs of a family trip to a place where I tried this "dish," I will warn you that this is more of a suggestion than a recipe. So much of this is up to the preferences of those who will be enjoying this treat, so there are infinite ways to build on or further simplify the way I go about it.
Without further ado...
- Choose radishes with greens in good condition if you want to make use the whole plant and make a tasty dish to follow like Busiate with Radish Greens and Basil
- High-quality butter at room temperature
- I keep it dairy-free with Violife or Trader Joe's —those are the only vegan butters I'd eat plain. This is indeed traditionally made with regular, cow's milk butter.
- Herbs or spices of your choice (optional)
- I used dired dill and cracked pepper here, but fresh fines herbes are WONDERFUL in this. If you choose dried herbs, let the butter sit at room temperature for an hour or two before serving—don't want to miss out on that flavor!
1. Clean radishes well, then slice. Thickness is a point of preference. Some folks like chunky slices for their crunch and ability to hold more butter, I like a thinner slice (think gourmet potato chip thickness) with less butter to prolong the joy of eating this treat.
2. Lay sliced radishes out and lightly salt.
3. If adding herbs or spices to the butter, mix together to taste. When I've forgotten to let my butter soften first, I'll slice it thinly and mash it on a cutting board then mix in the herbs there before transferring to a serving or storying vessel. If you make too much of this compound butter (the term for fancy spruced up butters) you can always save it for other applications. Great on toast!
4. To serve, you have to options. A) Smear a dab of butter on each slice then salt lightly again. (I like to use a flaky salt here). B) Serve like chips and dip or crudité. Butter in a little ramekin and sliced radishes nearby. I did both on the board pictured here.
This is a great appetizer and pairs nicely with something bready and crunchy like the taralli pictured above.