Bringing Color to the Winter Table

(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

With many months to go before freshly grown food actually starts coming out of the ground, those of us stuck in the frozen parts of the planet may be experiencing a shortage in color on our plates. There are beets and sweet potatoes lingering from the fall harvest, but last week, with a New Year kick in my cooking step, I decided it was time to break down and bring in something with more punch.

I think of radishes as a spring vegetable—one of the first and fastest to mature in May and June—but this time of year there are gorgeous radishes coming up from winter storage, meaning crops that were grown in the fall and put into a “root room” — a cold storage room with the right temperature and humidity to keep the radishes fresh.

Thanks to new membership in Good Eggs, a grocery delivery service selling mostly local and family-farm-raised produce, dairy and meat in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans, I have a bagful of beautiful watermelon radishes grown about 70 miles north of here. These little sweethearts from Fishkill Farms are freshly plucked from their optimal napping place and taking center stage at my dinner table. Sliced ultra-thin on the mandolin, these shimmering rosy circles of light gave a punch of color, and a kick of spice to boot.

What are you doing to get color onto your winter table?