When the local radishes hit the market stands in Paris, you know that spring is finally (gastronomically) here. Next come the fresh bulbs of green garlic, the asparagus, and eventually, the fresh peas.
With a couple of good friends (Frances and Marie,) I started a sort of “cooking club,” or an excuse to get together and cook elaborate meals. Frances has donned us the “Grape Leaf Club,” since our first mission together was to make a large quantity of stuffed grape leaves. The name has stuck, and to celebrate spring, we decided to make an Easter meal a couple weekends ago.
In charge of the starter, I concocted a dish similar to something Marie and I had created together last winter. A green pea purée serves as a base for smoked herring, pickled radishes, and dill. Final touch: a dollop of horseradish crème fraîche, and a bit of lemon juice.
Marie tackled the main dish: a pâté de Pacques or Easter paté, meat paté adorned with hard-boiled eggs and baked in a puff pastry shell.
Frances, the baker, designed our dessert. Maple-sugar flavoured meringes (with a dash of salt,) served with passionfruit cream, lime zest, and orange wedges.
For my dish, I did some research on pickled radishes and finally used a method I found on a site called Garden Therapy. My version, modified a bit, is here below.
- 1 bunch thinly sliced radishes (red and round or pink and long)
- 8 whole black peppercorns lightly broken with a mortar and pestle
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed open with the side of your knife
- Equal parts water and vinegar – enough to fill your jar (I used white cooking vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons honey
Neatly stack the radishes, garlic, and peppercorns in a clean jar.
Heat all other ingredients in a saucepan until dissolved (but not boiling.) Pour the warm liquid over the radishes and allow to cool.
Once cool, cover and keep in the refrigerator. The radishes will be ready after spending one night in the fridge, and keep up to 3-4 weeks. They are great on salads, sandwiches, or served as a happy hour snack.
Note that the white parts of the radishes (and the liquid) will take on the pink color of the skin.