I never really knew a radish until I knew my husband.
The first time I met J’s parents was over dinner at their farm house, his mother and father at either end of the table. The chit-chat focused on career, eggs, and the neighbors; I put more effort into speaking thoughtfully and carefully than I did into eating my rib-eye steak — blame it on the nerves. Hollywood made a successful movie depicting this rite of passage, poking fun at the often-anguishing moments around meeting the future in-laws to gain approval and acceptance when the relationship is for the long haul.
But in the middle of my ceremonial duty, feeling pretty confident and settling into the conversation nicely, J’s father bit into a radish. Mid-sentence, I watched him reach for the bowl near the center of the table, grab one red, round root and take a bite. I couldn’t focus for the rest of the meal.
I thought to myself, wow, who eats a radish whole? I found it slightly intimidating, much like the process of meeting J’s parents itself. Sure, I occasionally found them coarsely sliced in my salads, perhaps used as a garnish at a nice restaurant, but I never actively sought out this vegetable, let alone filled a bowl at the dinner table.
Apparently I’ve been missing out – radishes are crisp and refreshing, tangy with a high water content (making them low in calories for those watching their weight). To this day, J enjoys radishes whole just like his father, which spurred my recent purchase at the Piazza Farmer’s Market. When I returned from vacation this week, they were still staring back at me; hence, this Radish & Spinach Tortilla, a filling, nutritious and meatless entrée (or appetizer!) to add to a week night repertoire.
As radishes are related to broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts, their nutritional value is excellent. They are high in vitamin C, a primary cancer-preventing antioxidant; just one cup supplies twenty-five percent of the recommended daily amount. Radishes are also a good source of folic acid, potassium, and molybdenum, the trace mineral thought to be involved in nervous system development, kidney function, and energy production. Radishes are apparently easy to grow and their greens can be eaten as well. They are nutritious and versatile — two important words in the culinary world.
For this original recipe, I used many local foods (read: whatever was hanging out in my fridge at the time). I even discovered an alternate use for the Honey & Sea Salt cheese spread from Birchrun Hills Farm I’d been enjoying on toast. It’s an easy, unintimidating recipe. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables and spreadable cheeses (and let me know how it turns out). It’s well known that memories are made over food. To this day, I will remember this first dinner fondly as the Day I Met the Radish; oh, and the day I met my husband’s parents, too.
Radish & Spinach Tortilla
- 3 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- Spinach, about 1 handful, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp (approx) of Honey & Sea Salt cheese spread
- 1 whole wheat tortilla (10 inches)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare radishes, shallot and spinach.
- Spread cheese onto whole wheat tortilla, use more or less to taste. Top with radish, spinach and shallot.
- Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, until tortilla is crisp.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Fold tortilla in half and cut into two pieces. Enjoy.