The more I cook, the more simple my cooking becomes. It’s not because complicated flavors are tasking and require more effort, in fact, it may be just the opposite. Anyone can throw an assortment of spices into a stew, but seldom does one create something better; rather, the palette is left to decipher the confusing mixture and a general feel of discontent can be had afterwards. Sometimes the most simple recipes yield the most satisfaction. Take avocado toast for example. The recipe consists of a ripe avocado, a slice of bread, and salt and pepper to taste. This being said, not all avocado toasts are made equal. Finding the perfectly ripe organic avocado to pair with a toasted slice of your favorite bread and topping it all off with freshly cracked pepper and a good coarse salt like fleur de sel will make for an exquisite and more satisfying meal. Maybe it’s the hunt for such fresh, sustainable, carefully prepared ingredients that makes the end result so much more appealing or perhaps it’s simply the ingredients themselves, whatever the case the more thought that goes into the food, the more flavor. Call it love. Call it soul food.
What makes the perfect radish? This, of course, wholly depends on how it is to be prepared. For this dish I prefer the french breakfast type. They are spring radishes and are so crisp and light they eat almost like cucumbers. Unfortunately I was only able to obtain Cherry Bell radishes as they are the most common in the American Northwest. These are slightly spicy, the flavor is definitely more pungent than that of the french breakfast type. They are phenomenal pickled as they retain their crisp interior and their flavorful kick is softened by the acidic brine.
I recommend going to your local farmers market to acquire such beauties and while you’re there you may be able to pick up a good butter. Aim for a sweet cream butter that is unsalted. I let the butter soften at room temperature for an easy spread. Finally, if you can find it, try grabbing some fleur de sel. Translated it’s flower of salt and I couldn’t think of a more poetic and accurate name for it as it is laboriously harvested by hand. The salt comes in delicate flakes and dissolve almost immediately upon the tongue making for a broad stroke of flavor when paired with the butter and radish without interfering with the unpleasant sandy texture that some coarse salts have.
To assemble, simply spread a bit of butter on a clean whole radish and sprinkle with salt. You can also forego utensils and simply dip the whole radish into the softened butter and then the salt, it’s really up to you. I’ve also seen a few people spread the butter onto a piece of good hearty bread and top off with sliced radishes and a sprinkle of salt. I’ll have to try that next time I pick up a loaf of bread from my favorite bakery!