The advent of spring sends me straight for this tea time snack. Radish toasts are easy to throw together for one person or assemble en masse for the most fancy of weekend gatherings. Radishes, nice butter, quality flake salt, snips of fresh parsley and a just-baked ficelle, life doesn't get much better. Have you tried this wonderful pairing of delicate flavors and textures?
I first discovered radish toast when purchasing a bunch of the striking pink veggies from one of the fantastic daily indoor markets that pepper the city of Paris. A smiling vendor pointed to his lunch as I placed my radishes in my bag: There on a small cutting board lay a hearty version of the radish toast. With many hand gestures and enthusiastic smiles on my part, he led me to the rest of the ingredients necessary for this tasty plate.
I learned early on while traveling, if a local food person is so kind as to show you (the obvious foreigner) the goods, you should listen up and follow directions. I thanked my radish friend and got to work.
Radish Toast is a very simple recipe, and as with all bare-bones assemblies, the quality of the ingredients is of the utmost importance. If you can't find the crunchiest, brightest radishes, don't even bother. I know that sounds snobby, but it's the truth. Just wait until next week when the harvest tastes better! In Portland, the radishes are going crazy right now, and with that in mind, I'm making a lot of tea-time radish toasts, just as I was shown while meandering a market in gay Paree.
Ficelle (or substitute a baguette, but I enjoy the smaller size of the ficelle for this recipe), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
Generous pats of high-quality butter (I enjoy locally-made Larsen's Cremerie Classique butter)
radishes, finely sliced
A few sprigs or flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toast your bread rounds to desired doneness (I like mine well-toasted). Spread butter on toast generously. Place radish slices on top of bread, and sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper.
Delicious with tea or a glass of wine.
(Image and illustrations: Leela Cyd Ross)