Summertime, radish time. Radishes (“Radieschen”) are very popular around here. People love to eat them with their sandwiches, as a snack with some salt, at dinner time, at lunch time, all the time. And I had my share of them when I was growing up. I always liked their sharp taste and their crunchiness. We always ate them raw, never cooked.
People used to carve radish roses and put them on the dinner table or display them prominently on the buffet table. But how many different ways can you carve and cut up a radish. Nowadays, at our house, we eat them roasted, cooked or braised and I have even grilled some. I will put them on Asian inspired salads or make them part of an antipasti platter but, somehow, it had never occurred to me to use them in a dip, so when I saw the recipe for Radish Dip, I just had to give it a try. I bought two bunches of the round red radishes for this dip.
There are so many radish varieties in the stores and markets these days. They are available in spring, summer and fall. There are white, red, or violet ones, long ones, round ones. They carry such fancy names as “White Iciles”, “Purple Plum”, “Spanish Black” or “China Rose”.
But the widely popular little red ones (also called “Cherry Belles”) seem to be best suited for this dip. The recipe for the Radish Dip is extremely easy and quickly prepared – I chose to use one of my favorite oils, extra virgin lemon olive oil, instead of the lemon zest and it was delicious. According to the owner of the local oil mill (yes, there is one in the City of Bonn), lemon olive oil was discovered in Italy “by chance”. After the olive oil was pressed, the owners of the mills used lemons “to clean” the millstones and when they carried on with the oil making process, the olive oil had a delicious, citrusy smell, hence, the lemon olive oil was born.
(as adapted from Martha Stewart Living, May 2012)
Ingredients for the Radish Dip
Two bunches of red radishes (about 25), julienned, plus whole radishes, for serving
1 1/4 cups sour cream
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp extra virgin lemon olive oil (you can also use the zest of one lemon and then skip the oil)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1. Combine the julienned radishes, sour cream, feta, lemon olive oil (if using) and juice, salt, and dill.
2. Put in the fridge for about an hour while you prepare the Zucchini and Summer Squash Fritters
3. Serve with whole radishes and cucumbers and/or as a topping for the Fritters.
The Radish Dip is also nice as a topping/dip for some delicious Zucchini and Summer Squash Fritters – we loved them . A bit more time consuming to prepare than the Dip but well worth a little bit of effort. You can also prepare them for a crowd and keep them warm in the oven for a while.
Zucchini and Summer Squash Fritters
(as adapted from Martha Stewart Living, March 1999)
1 medium summer squash
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest (from an organic lemon)
10 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed and leaves finely chopped,
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs (L) lightly beaten (organic or free range if possible)
1/2 cup AP flour
1. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the zucchini and squash into a medium bowl.
2. Add the salt, lemon zest, chopped parsley, garlic, pepper, and eggs. Mix well to combine.
3. Slowly add flour, stirring so no lumps form.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
5. Carefully drop about 2 tablespoons zucchini/sqush mixture into pan; repeat.
6. Cook the fritters until they are golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
7. Reduce the heat to medium. Turn fritters, and continue cooking until golden, 2 to 3 minutes more.
8. Transfer the fritters to a plate and set aside in a warm place.
9. Cook the remaining zucchini mixture, adding more oil to the pan if necessary.
10. Serve with Radish Dip and vegetables. You can also serve them with lemon wedges.
We all thought that the Radish Dip together with the Fritters and some summer veggies made a wonderful and light summer dinner/lunch and besides I finally got to use my “retro” style of serving dish (with veggies décor) that I found at a flea market a few weeks ago! It reminds me of the those radish roses...