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When testers were recruited for Food52’s recipe contest Your Best Radishes or Turnips, I jumped at the opportunity to whittle down my recipe crafting skills. After all, if I’m going to write a cookbook I’ll need to test each recipe to perfection. It was very difficult for me not to deviate from the given instructions!

I chose to test the Spring Pesto with Roasted Radish, Mint and Preserved Lemon Not only was this an irresistible chance to use home-preserved lemons, but also, my radishes were desperate to be thinned out and the mint practically barging through the kitchen door. Of these three characters, the mint takes center stage, flirting with the very leafy-tasting, tongue-prickling radish leaves that sequester any extra olive oil for themselves. The result is somewhat dry. Not even a scant trace of lemon can be found. The walnuts and Parmesan hold up a convincing duet, though unmatched to the mint. The roasted radishes lend an earthy hue, better suited to a tapenade than a pesto.

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The recipe can be found HERE. My notes for adjustments and considerations:

  • More clarity around quantity of radish leaves: 3 cups chopped or whole? Packed tightly or loosely? (I packed coarsely chopped leaves, loosely)
  • More clarity around quantity of radishes: I didn’t feel that the radishes I had were equivalent to a “standard” bunch (as they are still early to harvest), and so added two watermelon radishes (similar flavor to Pink Beauty) that equaled the size of a more developed radish on the ends of my leaves. (I used 1.5 cups of coarsely chopped radishes)
  • Specify salt and olive oil quantity (I used ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil for roasting; I added ¼ teaspoon salt and 4 teaspoons olive oil when blending)
  • I roasted the radishes for 5 extra minutes, as they were not brown and wrinkly as described by 17 minutes; would be great to include a note to readers to adjust for oven temperature, as every oven is different
  • And last, a pairing suggestion! I served with brie and sliced apples, and then fried with spaghetti and olive oil the next day. The first choice was better.

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