A while back, I saw a feature in the New York Times about seared or roasted radishes. Roasted radishes! Well, I knew you could roast just about anything and it would taste good, but I never thought of roasting radishes! I put the thought out of my head, until now.
We love radishes. Raw, sliced into a salad, or just whole ones for snacking – they are so peppery and delicious. Cooked, their sugars are brought to the forefront and they are warm and comforting. Our local grocery carries nice fresh lovely radishes, and I’ve been buying them every week, and today I decided to play with them a little. Change it up. Sear them. I thought of roasting but the thought of heating up the oven for a few radishes seemed wasteful. Searing is just as good.
It’s amazing how their spiciness is mellowed by cooking, how their sugars caramelize into a nice, smoky, crispy crust. I decided to serve them with organic arugula (for some reason, organic arugula has wayyyy more flavor than generic, in my opinion) to help punch up their original pepperiness, and some avocado for creaminess. Making the dressing in the hot skillet allows the lemon juice to pick up all those lovely caramelized bits for a smoky tasting dressing.
The arugula is pretty sturdy, so stands up well to a tiny bit of wilting as you pour the warm dressing over the salad.
Pan-Seared Radish and Avocado Salad
1 bunch radishes (about 15), halved and trimmed
1 ripe avocado
4 ounces baby arugula (about 3 big handfuls)
salt and pepper
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons oil. When hot, add the radishes. Season well with salt and pepper. Sear about 3 minutes per side until the radishes are nice and browned, and even blackened in places.
Place the arugula into a large salad bowl or coupe plate. Slice the avocado in half, cut it into slices, and then scoop out chunks of avocado flesh and add to the arugula.
When radishes are done, remove from heat. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and toss with hot radishes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the radishes and add them to the arugula and avocado. Drizzle with the lemon juice from the pan (This is the dressing. Don’t add it all at once – start with a little in case it’s too acidic). Toss the salad together with the dressing. Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired.