Braised Radishes with Shallots and Bacon

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I’m here to report that after more than two years together, Danny and I are still learning new things about each other. Thankfully.

He had the best laugh of his week yesterday in, of all places, the cleaning supply aisles of Target. I joked about toilet paper. Why the heck do people need so many options? Cozy roll? Double roll? Whatever, let’s get this 12-pack of Charmin, I said, and he laughed. Hard.

I pronounced it “CHAR-min” like chair, but apparently Danny and the rest of the world say this word with a soft “ch—” as in ‘should.’

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It felt like the time I stood at Fresh Market asking for a piece of salmon, and the lady behind the counter corrected me. The L is silent, she told me, and my face probably turned a bit red. This was not the first time it happened. I’ve always been a great speller (you’re looking at an elementary school champion!) but sometimes, I guess because of the way things are said in Spanish and the way words were pronounced in the house I grew up in, we have a salmon with a hard L situation.

Anyway, it was something new he learned about me and it was funny, and hopefully, he finds it’s part of my charm. (Couldn’t resist).

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I like that there are new and funny little things to be discovered within everyday, unremarkable tasks, in this case shopping for groceries. Recently we picked up a couple bunches of radishes. There was no real plan for them, and we aren’t as imaginative when it comes to ways to cook these bright little vegetables. The first stop would probably be to slice, butter, and salt the radishes, and serve them with bread. Always a good idea. But what about a braise?

A very quick braise since radishes don’t need much time to cook. Shallots and bacon are thrown in for maximum flavor, and pretty soon you’ve got yourself a very nice side dish. The Kitchn’s approach was great, and I changed mine below just to allow more time for browning of the shallots and radishes. These braised radishes would look good on the side of something rich like duck or pork. And now that I’ve tried them braised, I’d very much like to try roasting radishes. Always something new.

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braised radishes with shallots and bacon

One of the best and simplest way to eat radishes is sliced, buttered, and salted, but it’s good to change things up. The shallots and bacon add tons of flavor to the braised radishes, which make a great side dish for dinner.

2 large bunches of radishes (about 1 pound), tops and bottoms trimmed off, halved lengthwise
3 large shallots
1 tablespoon butter
2 ounces bacon or salt pork, cut into small (about 1/2-inch) slices
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 small bunch Italian parsley, leaves chopped into about two handfuls
Salt and pepper

Place the butter and bacon in a cast iron or any large, heavy skillet over medium heat. As the pork starts to curl up at the edges and the butter foams and subsides, stir in the shallots and cook until they start to brown. Add the radishes, arranging them with the cut side down. Place some of the shallots on top of the radishes to give the vegetables some space and keep the shallots from browning too much. Let the radishes cook without moving them until the bottoms start to brown, 2 to 4 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar and water, which should come up around the sides of the radishes. Cover and lower heat to medium-low, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the water reduces into a sort of sauce,  4 to 8 minutes. Stir in the parsley and sauté until the herbs wilt, 1 or 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 2 to 3. Adapted from The Kitchn.

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