I first came across this lovely recipe in France many years ago. It is unusual in that it calls for radishes to be cooked. I find this somewhat surprising, but once a little heat has been applied to them their flavor is truly delicious—nutty and elegant, retaining only a hint of their peppery nature. I love the way their vibrant red color fades away during cooking too, until the radishes are the palest, most beautiful pink. A stylish accompaniment to roast chicken or poached white fish.
Remove the stalks from the radishes and wash thoroughly in cold water. Shake dry and place in a heavy-based medium pan that is large enough to comfortably hold the radishes and their cooking liquid.
Pour over the chicken stock and add the butter (don’t worry if the liquid doesn’t completely cover the radishes). Add a small pinch of salt and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the radishes are almost tender, tossing them once or twice to coat in the cooking liquor; this should take no more than 8 minutes.
When the radishes are almost tender, turn up the heat slightly to reduce the liquor down until there is just enough to coat the radishes in a pale, glossy glaze. Spoon the radishes into a warm bowl, add a sprinkling of salt and a generous grinding of pepper and serve.
Excerpted from Spring by Skye Gyngell by arrangement with Quadrille Publishing, distributed by Chronicle Books. Copyright © 2016 by Skye Gyngell.
"Vegetables are perishable, so we don't have any indication of what they looked like 500 years ago," says James Nienhuis, a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin.