Radish season is in full swing, and I have been buying a bunch a week. I very much like radis roses, the pink, elongated ones with a white bottom that look like so many pink mice, but I don’t turn my nose at the red globes, and certainly not at the multicolored bouquets.
(Side note: never sure what’s in season when? My seasonal produce guide is for you, and it’s free to download!)
In fact, it is not so much the color or shape of the bulbs I pay attention to when I shop, but the color and vigor of their leaves*. First, because they are a telltale sign of freshness, and second, because I eat them as radish leaf pesto, a habit I’ve taken up in the spirit of frugality, eco-friendliness, and kitchen craftiness.
Radish leaves have a flavor I would situate somewhere between watercress and nettles, but a few notches milder. The texture of the larger leaves can be a bit rough so they’re not ideal for salads, but they make fine soups and gratins (I add them to my Swiss chard gratin), I like them in pasta, and they work beautifully in pesto, which is what I make with them most often.
When I get back from the market, I separate the leaves from the bulbs. I refrigerate the latter — radishes should be washed moments before eating — while I rinse and dry the leaves like I do herbs, discarding any that are limp or discolored. I then store them in a container in the fridge until I’m ready to use them — but no longer than a day.