The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

May 9, 2012

From the garden

Karen Freeman

TARBORO — Sometimes my recipes come from necessity instead of creativity. The radishes are ready in our garden and the baby spinach is growing like crazy. I love baby spinach but I don't love radishes. I like to grow them because they grow fast and easy and look good in the garden. We usually end up giving them away. This year I decided that instead of just giving them away, I would find a recipe for them. But, it needed to be a cooked recipe because I knew that I wasn't crazy about them raw. I found a couple that I really like. I hope that you will like them too.

The first recipe was pretty and easy and delicious. It's braised radishes. Depending on the size, you will need to cut them in halves or in quarters. Once they are finished, sprinkle the sugar over them and enjoy.

The second recipe is one that Hobert and I absolutely fell in love with. I looked at several recipes and then just put bits and pieces together to create this one. But, it was so good that we can't wait to have it again.  

The third recipe is glazed radishes. I had never tried this before but it's delicious and my hubby loves it. It's an easy recipe to make.

The last recipe is a pear salad. This was stupendous. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste buds. I didn't really measure anything. But, then, I never do!

Braised Radishes with Radish Greens

3 bunches small radishes with greens attached

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp sugar

Trim the radishes and wash the greens; pat dry.

In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the radishes, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the butter to coat the radishes. Add the radish greens and cook over moderate heat until they are wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt. Serve the radishes right away.

Garlic Sautéed Spinach

1 1/2 pounds baby spinach leaves

2 tablespoons good olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped garlic (6 cloves)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon sugar


Sea or kosher salt, optional

Rinse the spinach well in cold water to make sure it's very clean. Spin it dry in a salad spinner, leaving just a little water clinging to the leaves.

In a very large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sautéaz the garlic over medium heat for about 1 minute, but not until it's browned. Add all the spinach, the salt, and pepper to the pot, toss it with the garlic and oil, cover the pot, and cook it for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high, and cook the spinach for another minute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the spinach is wilted. Sprinkle with sugar and stir it in.

Using a slotted spoon, lift the spinach to a serving bowl and top with the butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of sea or kosher salt. Serve hot.

Glazed Radishes

3 bags (6 ounces each) red radishes (about 45), ends trimmed

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Cut large radishes in half; leave small ones whole. In a 12-inch skillet, combine radishes, butter, sugar, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 1/2 cups water.

Bring to a boil over high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced and radishes are tender and glazed, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve.

Baby Spinach, Pear and Walnut Salad

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2-3 pears (I used 1 large can of sliced peaches

1/4 cup walnuts

baby spinach leaves

6 chives, coarsely chopped


1/4 cup honey

1 cup Vinaigrette dressing (from a bottle)

2-3 Tbsp. apple jelly (or any jelly that you want to use)

salt, to taste

fresh ground pepper, to taste

Place the honey and vinegar in a medium bowl and stir until well combined; cut the pears lengthways into 1/2 inch-thick pieces and toss in the honey mixture.

Cook the pears on a heated, oiled grill pan or BBQ hotplate on one side for 1 minute or until golden; remove and set aside to cool.

Toss the walnuts in the remaining honey and balsamic vinegar mixture, and cook on a heated oiled grill pan, turning frequently, for 2 minutes or until golden brown; set aside to cool.

DRESSING: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix with wire whisk until smooth and well mixed.

SERVING: Place the pears and walnuts in a large bowl, add the baby spinach leaves and chives, pour over the dressing, toss well and serve.