30 Jan2012

I was never really fond of small raw radishes. I didn’t hate them, I just didn’t seek them out, but over the last few years I have repeatedly read in several cookbooks and magazines that enjoying a freshly harvested radish sliced, on a piece of toast or bread slathered with sweet butter, and sprinkled with salt, is culinary equivalent of a “cat’s meow”. So in the interest of “broadening food horizons” I waited for the right opportunity to present itself…

A freshly harvested batch of Gejo’s ravishing radishes (Kitchen Herbs Farm) arrived looking immaculate and crisp. I stuck a couple in the fridge for about half an hour to chill them, then toasted up some wheat bread, slathered it with sweet butter, sliced a radish thinly and arranged it on top of the butter, and sprinkled lightly with pink himalayan salt. A quick bite and the combination of gentle heat and crisp juiciness of the radish, combined with the rich fat of the butter and the balancing quality of the bread was a revelation. Really very nice. And don’t scrimp on the salt to bring it all together. I think what makes this particularly good is that the quality of the radishes must be superb. Preferably harvested in the past few hours, if possible. Count me as a radish fan now… :)

Besides the radishes in last week’s “shipment” of produce, I also got two bunches of fine chives. Not garlic chives or chinese chives, but western chives. They are NOT easy to find in Manila, unless you get lucky at Santis or some of the weekend markets. With a mild onion flavor, they are superb in somedishes that need a hint of onion, but not too much… think a garnish on any number of smooth creamy soups or bisques, or on top of mashed potatoes or in cream cheese.

Getting produce or herbs and spices that are difficult to find is always a pleasure, and I am so happy that more and more small farmers are growing these items that were next to impossible to find just 5-10 years ago. Thanks Gejo! For me, the challenge when I get ingredients such as these is to use them all within a few days so that they are appreciated in the best light. If only they were available on a more regular basis… who knows, maybe sooner than we think… :)

The last unusual item in my produce basket last week was these frilly incredibly sharp mustard greens. One taste and you would be shocked by how peppery the greens are, quite stunning, actually. Not sure how to use them, but if I managed to get some fresh tuna in the days ahead I would make some spicy tuna sashimi and garnish it with these greens…

…or maybe they would make a nice sharp side salad with kalamansi and bagoong for a fried fish or pork dish. Hmmm, the possibilities, the possibilities…



  1. PITS, MANILA says:

    you’re so lucky to have GEJO! access to fresh, hard to find produce. i never thought butter would pair well with radish. i’ll look forward to seeing your sharp side salad using the mustard greens as garnish.

    Jan 30, 2012 | 7:16 am


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  3. Thel from Florida says:

    Ravishing radishes alright! Just got my supply of pink Himalayan salt, 9.5 oz for $10, and some Maldon sea salt also, good stuffs!

    Jan 30, 2012 | 7:18 am

  4. betty q. says:

    Have you tried roasting those radishes, MM…tops and all? The tops turn into wonderful crisp greens much like oven roasted kale….light drizzle of olive oil on the greens but NO SALT yet! Add a touch of salt when they are nice and crisp! Oven roasted kale is our new addiction! You can even vary the seasoning on the roasted radish greens….try the Japanese seasoning, or the Korean ones for zip, or for an Indian flavour, cumin, coriander and touch of garam masala. The seasoned oven roasted radish green make a nice side dish to the open faced radish sandwiches!

    Jan 30, 2012 | 7:52 am

  5. Gej says:

    Thanks MM! Glad you liked the produce. It’s always a thrill to read your posts on them. “Ravishing radishes” – !.

    Kamusta betty q?! Did the seeds come through? Hope you received my e-mails. I’ll try your roasting suggestions too!

    Jan 30, 2012 | 8:09 am

  6. Footloose says:

    All through the seventies and eighties, I guess until Asian immigrants in Toronto reached critical mass, you could only get white radish in China town which required a special trip. We therefore used these tiny radishes as substitute for dishes such as sinigang and kilawing librillo which gave the cooked dishes a pinkish glow and had the advantage of not giving off a broken winded sort of unpleasant odor as the normal labanos or lobak do.

    Aren’t mustard greens added to fish (usually sea catfish, kanduling bungulan) sinigang with miso?

    Jan 30, 2012 | 8:49 am

  7. Marketman says:

    Footloose, yes, you are referring to mustasa, this wider leafed and milder mustard greens that are often put in soup. But these frilly ones above, though related, I am sure, are wickedly sharp in flavor and probably best suited to a dish where they are served raw instead…

    Jan 30, 2012 | 9:23 am

  8. millet says:

    would never recognize those lazy greens as mustard greens. you mean they’re peppier than the broader ones used for sinigang? MM, did you know that those broad mustasa leaves make a perfect wrap for lechon? the bitterness cuts the grease perfectly.

    i’ve always bought those radishes because they looked cute in salads,but have never developed a liking for them. but you can’t go wrong with butter, right? can’t wait to pick up a few so i can try this out. no bacon, nothing else, right?

    had an OMG moment when i read your description of the chives. i have several clumps of them growing lustily in the garden, from a small clump given by a landscaper friend. i have bemoaned the fact that they are not the familiar flat “kuchay” (chinese chives), but i tried to be brave, and have used them liberally in stir-fried ground pork with water chestnuts and a bit of oyster sauce.

    thanks, Gejo and MM, for continually updating our knowledge about veggies, and for giving us the courage to try new things all the time.

    Jan 30, 2012 | 10:49 am

  9. Jannah (Abu Dhabi) says:

    MM I just cooked Beef sinigang last friday and use red radish which is much cheaper than the white radish we normally use.
    and my baon for lunch today is omelette with tomatoes, chives and red radish again – throw what ever veggies I have in the fridge hehehe

    Jan 30, 2012 | 11:56 am

  10. betty q. says:

    Millet…those chives can be invasive! If you want to contain them, best you cut out the bottom of a huge pot and bury the pot with the chives in it!

    Jan 30, 2012 | 1:15 pm

  11. Biy says:

    Nice.nicer if you can replant some with visible roots still on..nicest when you harvest it then have them atp its freshest.

    Jan 30, 2012 | 1:15 pm

  12. kurzhaar says:

    I am generally not a radish fan either although my partner who is European adores them for breakfast (yes, on buttered bread). But a couple of years ago I had a miso-braised radish (daikon) dish in a Japanese izakaya that was revelatory to me.

    bettyq, thanks for the roasted radishes tip. We roast a lot of vegetables (brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips, carrots, etc.) and make kale “chips” in the oven as well…they are addictive.

    Jan 30, 2012 | 2:38 pm

  13. Connie C says:

    The topic of leaves and mustard greens reminds me to fix this mustard green salad, best when you get the freshest greens, especially now that vegetables are in abundance. Thanks to the unseasonal rains.

    Salt finely chopped mustard greens and let stand till slightly wilted.
    Squeeze the greens of its juice then wash and squeeze well.
    Toss greens with finely chopped salted egg.
    Drizzle with vinegar and serve.

    Perfect accompaniment for inihaw: fish, chicken inasal or pork .

    Jan 30, 2012 | 9:06 pm

  14. Shalum says:

    this post is very yummy :)

    Jan 30, 2012 | 11:06 pm

  15. betty q. says:

    Millet…maybe try roasting them and you will be addicted to it! Serve them or eat them warm and dip them in COMPOUND BUTTER…waaaaaay even better!..no need to salt them! C’mon mga Mrs…. ROAST your radishes! a nice addition to your antipasto tray! Every year, I have a whooooole row in the garden just for radishes!

    Kurzhaar…there is a new vegetable this year called FLOWER SPROUTS…a cross betweeen brussel sprouts and curly kale. You also like kale chips? This FLOWER SPROUT looks like a tiny kale but grown on a stalk similar to brussel sprout stalk. When ready to harvest, they look like an opened brussel sprout! I am growing it this year once I get hold of the seeds. I only found 1 US supplier so far. If you want to try planting it this year…JOHNNY’S SELECTED SEEDS has them…..and no, I am not related nor do I work for them!

    MM…maybe you can pickle the mustard greens…much like pickled ampalaya you still have a tinge of bitterness but not overwhelmingly so!

    Jan 30, 2012 | 11:12 pm

  16. wisdom tooth says:

    Betty q…My friend plants a lot of kale in her garden and gives me when she harvests but I only know how to put it in sinigang or nilaga. Will surely save your tips in my USB for future use. Radishes and kales to be oven roasted from here on…Thanks!!

    Jan 31, 2012 | 1:59 am

  17. betty q. says:

    Wisdom tooth: make sure the leaves are DRY to the nth degree! Blot the moisture with paper towels or give it a whirl in your salad spinner…..light drizzle with olive oil or peanut oil (if no one is allergic to peanuts) to coat the leaves. Do not salt them yet…if you do, the salt draws out the moisture and they will not turn crackling crisp. Salt them after. We prefer the hickory smoked salt….others you might want to try…the nacho seasoning or barbecue seasoning. It is like eating potato chips only green!

    Jan 31, 2012 | 2:34 am

  18. Josephine says:

    Here in France the little radishes plus butter plus salt thing is traditional and even a ritual. It’s good! I’m glad you’re appreciating the taste sensation M M, but you know what I actually do with those little beasts, I put them in sinigang as a substitute for labanos, since I can’t get that unless I want to trek across Paris to the Asian markets on public transport and the current temperature is below zero…

    Jan 31, 2012 | 10:07 am

  19. Josephine says:

    PS – those “Western” chives look fantastic, sturdy. Etc. The ones in my local market are slimmer, tidier, trimmed… Though they taste fine. Don’t know if you’ve been following the “French women don’t get fat” controversy, but I can assure you French chives are svelte but still have ooomph.

    Jan 31, 2012 | 10:20 am

  20. brownedgnat says:

    Hi MM: Those look like Mizuna mustard. Great for salad.

    Jan 31, 2012 | 1:06 pm

  21. bubbles says:

    hi MM.. how would i know the diffrence between a chinese chive, a garlic chives to western chives? im excited to get hold of that raddish! i have not tasted the red raddish yet! :)

    Feb 2, 2012 | 2:33 am


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