I never really cared for radishes until I started to grow them. As a kid, I always picked them out of my salad, and even though I tried to like them as an adult, I just couldn’t. Store bought radishes tend to be a bit fibrous, super spicy and a bit dried out. I’m still not much of a fan of those.
But radishes, in addition to being one of the easiest and fastest things to grow, are one of the tastiest when grown in your own backyard. You can sow the seeds directly into soil during cooler months in the spring and fall, and within about 60 days, you’ll have a full, glorious harvest.
Radishes dipped in sweet, unsalted butter and topped with a generous sprinkle of flaky sea salt is a French classic paring. It sounds a bit bizarre, but then again, the French would think something like what Americans call ants on a log to be pretty bizarre, too. I’m leaning more with the French on this one. I’ll take radishes, butter and salt over celery, peanut butter and raisins any day.
To this classic combination, I added another one of my favorite spring garden staples: chives. If radishes are easy to grow, chives are practically effortless. They’ll grow in full sun or in shade, in the cool spring and balmy summer heat. Plus, they’re perennials, so they come back bigger and stronger every year without doing anything at all.
Every May the chives sprout these beautiful purple flower puffs that taste as good as they look. Added to these buttered radish toasts, chives add a mild oniony bite that brings a delicate depth of flavor and doesn’t overpower at all. They heighten and highlight the simple flavors that be, proving true the phrase “what grows together, goes together.”
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- 6 thin slices baguette or other crusty bread
- 3 tablespoons good quality unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, plus more for garnish
- flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling
- 6-8 small-medium radishes, sliced into paper thin coins
- chive flowers, kale flowers, arugula flowers or other small edible flowers for garnish (optional)
- Place the slices of bread in the toaster or toaster oven and toast until just lightly golden brown. While the bread toasts, mix together the butter and chives until fully combined. Remove the bread from the toaster and allow to cool for a few minutes so the butter doesn't melt.
- Divide the butter amongst the 6 toasts and spread out evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, then arrange the radish slices over top. Arrange the toasts on a platter and sprinkle with a tiny bit more sea salt, chopped chives and edible flowers. Serve immediately.
- *Use a good quality butter, such as a European style, cultured or locally produced small-batch for best results.