Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Seared Radish Crostini and Wilted Mustard Greens Salad with Bacon

The past two weeks radishes have been part of my haul from my CSA.  I don't know about you but I generally find radishes pretty to look at, but not all that palatable.  I don't mind them thinly sliced in salads, but their peppery bite is something that I'm not altogether sure I enjoy in big moutfuls.  My father used to eat raw radishes and scallions with just a sprinkle of salt - something I will never be able to do.  Since I don't really enjoy the taste of raw scallions (although I do love the crunch), I decided to try roasting them.  Depending on the ingredient, roasting can either mellow flavors out or intensify them.  In this case, I was hoping that roasting the radishes would mellow them out and make them a touch sweeter.  About a month ago I saw a recipe on the NY Times website that called for roasting radishes and making crostini out of them so I have been saving it for the day when I had enough radishes from the CSA to whip up some crostini.  To go with the crostini I decided to make a salad with another part of our CSA haul - half a pound of mustard greens.  I'm not overly familiar with mustard greens, so rather than go at it blindly I decided to hit Epicurious for some recipes and inspiration.

I was very happy with tonight's dinner.  And by extension I am super happy with our CSA Chubby Bunny.  All of the produce we picked up yesterday was super fresh and super delicious.  The radish crostini was really interesting.  I loved the combination of the toasted bread, the nutty and buttery bagna cauda-based sauce, and the roasted radishes.  I might very well be a radish convert.  I do think that the recipe makes an enormous amount of sauce for the amount of radishes it calls for, but that's ok with me.  I used a levain boule from Balthazar as the base for my crostini and it worked out fabulously.  I thought that the salad was also pretty fabulous.  The balsamic and the onions made the salad slightly sweet, and the bacon gave it a nice porky, salty flavor.  Hurray CSA and hurray dinner.

Recipes after the jump!

Seared Radish Crostini
NY Times 

1 bunch radishes
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons butter
8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
8 thin slices crusty bread, toasted
4 teaspoons chopped parsley.

Remove leaves and stems from radishes; trim the tails. Cut larger radishes lengthwise into sixths and smaller radishes lengthwise into quarters.  Place a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon oil, radishes in a single layer (do not crowd) and salt and pepper. Cook radishes, without moving them, until they are lightly colored on undersides, about 3 minutes. Shake pan and continue cooking until tender, about 3 more minutes.
In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in anchovies, garlic, red pepper and remaining oil. Reduce heat and simmer about 4 minutes.  Brush each slice of toast with sauce and top with several radish wedges. Spoon additional sauce on top, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Wilted Mustard Greens Salad with Bacon
November 1992
1/2 pound mustard greens, stems and center ribs cut out and discarded and the leaves cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled

Wash the mustard greens, spin them dry, and put them in a large heatproof bowl. In a skillet heat the oil with the mustard seeds, covered partially to keep the seeds from popping out, over moderate heat for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the popping subsides, add the onion, and cook the mixture, stirring, until the onion is softened. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the vinegar, and bring the mixture to a boil. Drizzle the dressing immediately over the mustard greens and toss the salad. Add the bacon and salt and pepper to taste and toss the salad well.

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