Fresh, crisp radishes not only speak of spring, but are one of the season’s prettiest vegetables. They range from small, elongated, pink and white French radishes to common bright red globes (Cherry Belles) and exotic Asian varieties of all sizes and hues.

Their bracing, head-clearing bite is a spring tonic, and their bright color and crunch make them ideal on a crudité platter or in salads. Here, though, we present radishes in a couple of new guises.

CRISPY SESAME CHICKEN AND RADISH SALAD

This salad is a study in contrasts, with warm spiced sesame chicken cutlets resting on a bed of crunchy lettuce and shredded radishes, drizzled with an Asian-inspired dressing and topped with avocado and lime slices. Serve with a side of French bread or biscuits.

Serves 4

DRESSING:

4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon grated ginger

5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

CHICKEN:

3 tablespoons untoasted sesame seeds

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, about ½ inch thick

3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

ASSEMBLY:

10 large radishes

1 small head romaine lettuce

1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions

1 ripe avocado, sliced

1 lime, cut into wedges

To make the dressing, heat the oil in small skillet. Add garlic and ginger and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add vinegar and soy sauce and cook, stirring, for 30 more seconds. Add sesame oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the chicken, combine the sesame seeds, cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt on a plate. Dredge the chicken in the spice mixture, rubbing it into the flesh. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Cook the chicken over medium to medium-high heat, turning once, until nicely browned outside and no longer pink within, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board.

Meanwhile, shred the radishes on the shredding blade of a food processor or with a box grater. Cut the lettuce crosswise into 1-inch strips. Spread the lettuce out onto a large platter, layer a bed of radishes over and sprinkle with salt. Cut chicken crosswise into ¾-inch slices and arrange atop radishes. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with scallions and top with avocado and lime wedges.

QUICK-PICKLED RADISHES

These are great layered on sandwiches (cheese, chicken, roast beef, etc.) or they make a lovely condiment to go alongside anything grilled. If you can’t get large round radishes, use the smaller, slender variety and cut them in quarters.

Makes about 1 cup

½ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

About 12 large round radishes, trimmed and thickly sliced

¼ cup slivered sweet onion

Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl, and whisk briskly until dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add radishes and onion and stir to combine.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Pickles will keep for several days.)

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:

facebook.com/brookedojny