Raw radishes can be unpleasantly spicy, but there are simple ways to soften their bite. Hirundo/Shutterstock.com

As a very new vegetable gardener, I cannot possibly convey what a thrill it is to cook with something that I grew myself. Or even just to eat it raw.

My partner has, I’m sure, grown tired of hearing me squeal with delight each summer day when I come in from the garden with lettuce to add to our lunchtime sandwiches, “Look! We are eating our own lettuce! Isn’t that amazing?! Isn’t it pretty?! Could I be any more farm-to-table?!” or when I point out (frequently, daily) that the muesli we’ve just had for breakfast not only uses my own homemade yogurt, but also my own rhubarb compote that I made from my own rhubarb stalks that I harvested myself from my own rhubarb patch that I PLANTED MYSELF AND ISN’T THAT ALL JUST AMAZING?! These are rhetorical questions, obviously.

Whether you are a new over-enthusiastic vegetable gardener like me, or an old hand, now is the time you are probably harvesting radishes and peas. Personally, I don’t (yet) grow enough peas – either shelling peas or sugar snaps – to cook with, so I usually just snack on them while I’m weeding and watering. But if you do, or if you pick them up at the farmers market and are wondering what to make, here are two very easy ways to cook with them.

Roasted Radishes

Growing up, the only times I ever encountered radishes were either chopped up and thrown into green salads or served halved and raw on a tray with other vegetables and a dip. I wasn’t a fan, usually finding them bitingly, unpleasantly hot. Americans don’t often think to cook with radishes, but after reading the idea in the New York Times years ago, I tried it and I’ve never looked back. Their bite softens, and they are delicious. When you braise them, they turn a pretty pink. You could easily add to or change up the flavorings with this recipe. But don’t throw away the greens – they are edible and also tasty.

2 to 3 bunches radishes
1½ tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 scallions, sliced thin on the bias
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 425. Halve the radishes from stem to root. If they are unusually big, cut them into quarters. You want all the radishes to be the same size so they will roast evenly. Combine the radishes with the oil on a baking sheet. Toss to coat in the oil. Roast until the radishes are tender and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Drizzle with soy sauce, toss, then roast an additional 5 minutes until the glaze gets syrupy. Serve, sprinkled with the scallions and sesame seeds. Taste for salt, but the soy may have provided enough salt.

Sugar Snap Peas with Radishes

This recipe, which you can make in 5 minutes, is more of a suggestion than a recipe. That’s how I prefer my summer recipes. On Maine’s fleeting, spectacular summer days, I don’t want to be inside cooking. Also, summer produce doesn’t need a heavy hand in the kitchen, especially if you’ve grown it yourself.

Butter
Sugar snaps
Radishes
Salt and pepper
Freshly chopped mint
Freshly chopped chives

Melt a pat of butter in a saute pan. Saute the sugar snaps in the pan with thickly sliced radishes for a few minutes, seasoning them with salt and pepper, to taste. Do not overcook. The freshness of this dish, both in color and taste, is its appeal. Sprinkle the vegetables with chopped fresh mint and chives. That’s it. Eat up.


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