Radish Toast, Two Ways

Perhaps radishes are hearty enough for mediocre gardeners like myself. Perhaps my kids and I just got lucky. But whatever it was, a special moment occurred late last week when we dropped by the community garden to check on our plot.

From the spot where we parked, we could see how the tomatoes plants had grown, reaching their vibrant green branches to all sides. The cabbages, which I’d thought needed to be pulled just weeks ago, were lush and vibrant. And the peppers and cucumbers had started reaching toward the skies.

As we neared the bed, the mounded leaves of the radishes we’d planted from seed came into view. And beneath them, the brilliant red and white tops were poking above the soil, begging for harvesting.

Our French breakfast radishes were ready.

I can’t tell you who was more excited about this development: my kids, who don’t remember the few successful gardens I tended in Connecticut years ago, or myself, who had all but forgotten the magic of the harvest. But it doesn’t matter — we were all excited.

My son dashed off to the car to find something to put our harvest in. My daughter leaned in for a closer look. And soon, with the smell of dirt and growth on our hands, lush leafy greens were poking out of the top of the bag.

“I can’t wait to eat our radishes!” one of my kids said excitedly. Their eyes shone with excitement.

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home for a loaf of bread. I was so excited when my kids had chosen these radishes to grow because they are my favorite variety. I’d first learned of them years ago, reading about a breakfast enjoyed around many a Parisian table. Radish toast, a more refined cousin of avocado toast, involves slices of French baguettes spread with butter and topped with thin slices of French breakfast radishes and a sprinkle of sea salt.

It’s delightful.

But on that night, I decided to try something a little different. Thin slices of Italian bread — which is wider than French bread — were topped with thin slices of brie cheese (about 1 ounce of cheese) and then baked until the cheese was melted enough to spread. Then I layered thin radish slices on top and sprinkled them with a touch of sea salt. Mmm. Perfect.

The result was fresh and creamy, a little sharp and a little buttery, and totally divine.

We’ve had radish toast — both ways — several times since, as a side dish with dinner and a breakfast too. I can’t recommend it enough.

Don’t worry if you aren’t growing French breakfast radishes too. They are plentiful at the farmers’ markets I’ve been to in Orono and Bangor. But you can also use any radish you enjoy. A milder one is best though.

However you make it — this radish toast — think of us. While plenty of Mainers have been excitedly growing their own for years, we’re happy to finally have a harvest worth celebrating … and the season is only just getting started.

Radish Toast, Two Ways
Author: 
Serves: servings vary
 
Ingredients
Traditional Radish Toast
  • ½-thick slices French baguette (or other baguette shaped loaf)
  • good quality salted butter
  • French breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
  • sea salt
French Breakfast Radish and Brie Toast
  • ½-inch-thick slices of Italian bread
  • brie cheese, cut into thin slices
  • French breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
  • sea salt
Instructions
Traditional Radish Toast
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the slices of baguette on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, until hot and crisp.
  2. Spread butter on one side of each baguette slice. Top with thin slices of radishes and sprinkle with sea salt.
  3. Enjoy.
French Breakfast Radish and Brie Toast
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the slices of break on a baking sheet and top each with brie cheese -- about 1 ounce per slice. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted enough to spread.
  2. Remove from the oven and use a knife to spread the bread all over the slice. Top with thin slices of radish and then a sprinkle of sea salt.
  3. Enjoy!

 

 

Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News, and resident cook. She writes a cooking column, Maine Course, and is also author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains." Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, Glamour.com and more.