Don’t Toss those Radish Greens.


It’s now June, the sun is warm and the garden is in. I thought I had the itch last year, ripping out spaces in the yard to add more life, but it must have been the tomatoes that inspired this year’s dig.

I live on your typical, smallish urban yard with a street out front and a patch of grass for sinking my toes into and a bit of Joneses decor. The house is west facing so I wake with the sun and enjoy the cool shade the houseprint leaves in the backyard during the afternoons. The only thing was the tomatoes weren’t loving the dark, temperate breezes. For those of you who have had the luck to enjoy a warm summer tomato, you will understand my next move.

As a late birthday gift to myself this spring, I shocked the next door neighbour and ordered a few loads of soil. With it’s blazing sunshine and ample room for my tomatoes, the front yard just had to go. As I poked and turned the earth, I found a new plot for my tomatoes and I was left with the cool spaces in the back garden. Room now for things I hadn’t grown before. Direct from Monticello, are the heirloom peas, a few rows red carrots, spinach, rocket and White Hailstone Radishes.

I’m not infatuated with radishes, especially the spicy, red and mealy grocery store variety I grew up on, but when they’re fresh, topping buttered bread with a little salt? Yum. With this little space and reading that radishes can grow from seed to harvest in about three weeks, I couldn’t resist to try. After a few days of rain, the row billowed and I could see the hail sized spheres pushing from the ground. I didn’t think I’d be able to eat that many tea sandwiches in one sitting, so after a nibble I snipped the tops and pickled the bottoms in a drowning of rice wine vinegar, salt and sugar. But, don’t any of you dare think that I’m going get my hands dirty, poke seeds into the ground, water and baby these tiny vegetables just to toss the tops. No, no.

I’d once read that, although most greens are discarded, they are mostly all edible. Radishes are no exception. Blessed with the spiciness of their in-ground counterparts, I figured they would be tasty in a quick sauté or a soup.

Unbelievably simple, this soup was amazingly tempting.

RADISH GREENS SOUP

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Shallot, finely chopped
2 Cups Radish Greens, roughly chopped, packed
2 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Sea Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Fresh Chives for serving

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; add finely diced shallots.
Sauté, stirring often, until shallots are soft and translucent.
Add the radish greens and wilt, then add the stock.
Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the chopped parsley and mint. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Remove from heat; purée with an immersion blender or in blender, in batches.
Top with with freshly chopped chives just prior to serving.

Makes 4 servings.