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Apr 10, 2004 02:13 AM

Radish with butter and salt

  • b

I've been reading about this curious combination lately. Can someone tell me how it works? Spread radish with butter? Sprinkle with salt? Why do you consider this a perfect trinity, if you do?

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  1. I'm not sure perfect trinity is phrase, but really delicious is. Especially if you use good butter, fleur de sel, and those mild French breakfast radishes. Just spread a little butter and sprinkle a little salt on the radish and pop the whole thing in your mouth. Yummmm Great cocktail snack.

    2 Replies
    1. re: srr

      We do a gussied up version for cocktail parties-- thick slices of radish, pipe on some softened fancy butter (VT Cultured Butter in our house) and sprinkle with fleur de sel and a grind of prepper. We use the french breakfast radishes if we can get them (and just leave them out for dipping in the butter and salt in ramekins for sprinkling), but sliced fresh bunch radishes (especially the easter egg ones in stores now) are a good substitute. Something about the watery crispy bite of the radishes, contrasted with the creamy richness of the butter, and the crackly dry crunch of the salt just works well.

      1. re: EMDB

        And do try braising them in butter, with a bit of salt & pepper, & serving them up as a veggie..... yummmmmm!

    2. Bryan:

      The ultimate pleasure in eating any type of Radish, including the large Black Radish's is the method preferred by many Europeans and traditionally older Jewish Americans.

      The Radish is sliced thin.
      Rendered Chicken or Goose Fat {Schmaltz} is spread onto whatever Bread or Roll you prefer.
      Cover the Bread after applying the Schmaltz with the sliced Radish.
      Then sprinkle over the salt you prefer. Traditionally it's course Kosher Salt.

      My grandfather always after finishing his indulgence ate some raw parsley or cilantro to avoid some of the after effects.


      1. ...good white sandwich bread, soft butter, and a light sprinkle of kosher salt. Appropriate time to break out the fancy-schmancy salt, too. De-crust, cut in corners. Good eats.

        1. It's not considered strange in France, but it is a little unusual in America!

          It's important to use sweet butter, so you can adjust the salt. In fact, the way I've seen it served (this is a homey dish, not a restaurant one) several times in France is actually in a sandwich. A good baguette smeared with lovely (meaning almost always cultured butter -- not "sweet cream" as we use in America. This is a butter with a slightly cheesey bacteria culture added to it, which adds flavor, shelf life, and character to good French -- read 82% or higher -- butter without any salt. So this is unsalted butter, but it's different tasting than American unsalted butter --- to duplicate this buy Lurpak (which is actually Danish but very good), or Celles Sur Belle, or Beurre de Isigny, or another good butter from France. It will probably not be cheap.) butter -- and generously smeared. Then thinnish (but not paper thin so there is still significan crunch) slices of radish are added, and perhaps (though not always) a judicious sprinkling of large-grain salt (Fleur de Sel is the best, of course, but any coarse grain salt like Celtic Gray is delicious). This is a delicious snack that I've actually never seen anywhere for purchase, but is made in French homes for picnics, lunches, etc -- especially in the country.

          They use a variety of radishes -- I wish I knew all the different species. In addition to the red, round radish (which is actually a little strong for this application) they use long, skinny white radishes that have a sweeter flavor.

          Not haute cuisine -- but, ooh so good.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Mrs. Smith

            In France I've been served whole radishes, a ramekin of butter and a dish of salt; spread, sprinkle, eat. Very casual. Delicious.
            My current favorite radish preparation is grilled - leave a small stem on, olive oil and salt, throw them on the grill. They get soft and sweet - even people who don't like radishes will eat them.

            1. re: hattie

              I was taught by a French woman to cut a deep "x" into the end of the radish and mush the butter into the cut, then sprinkle with fleur de sel. Sometimes it's hard to get the butter to stick to a sliced radish; I think this is where the "x" idea probably came from.

            2. re: Mrs. Smith

              In New York I have had them at Prune, on Houston. That inspired me to put them out at a dinner party because it's so easy and fresh- only I and the French guest enjoyed them. C'est la vie.