Roasted Radishes with Kalamata Dressing


I once spent a few weeks cooking for a client who was vegan and ate no processed foods whatsoever. I loved the job because within those strict boundaries, I got to focus primarily on vegetables and explore any and every preconceived idea I ever had about cooking them without being distracted by the infinite possibilities of a full pantry.One of the dishes I made for him, that I still continue to make, are these roasted radishes with black olives, which add a depth and richness that you don’t often get with vegan cooking. The small victory here is all about cooking vegetables that are almost always served raw. Not only will you discover a new angle for something like a radish, you will also add a bit of variety to your regular routine—not to mention guarantee that you will impress your dinner guests.The olive dressing, by the way, is good on many things. Try spooning it on top of goat cheese (serve with toast or crackers), sliced tomatoes, or grilled chicken or fish.

SERVES 4

11/2 lb [680 g] radishes, split lengthwise (it’s okay to leave a little of the stem)

5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp sherry vinegar

12 pitted Kalamata olives (or other dark olives), finely chopped

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley or chives or 1 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano

Preheat your oven to 425°F [220°C]. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Put the radishes on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with2 Tbsp of the olive oil, sprinkle with a large pinch of salt,and use your hands to toss everything together. Roast,stirring occasionally, until the radishes are tender and browned, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile put the garlic, a large pinch of salt, and the vinegar in a small bowl and let them sit and get to know each other for 10 minutes (this quick-pickle moment will tame the bite of the garlic and also infuse the vinegar with the garlic). Slowly whisk in the remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil and then stir in the olives.

Meanwhile put the garlic, a large pinch of salt, and the vinegar in a small bowl and let them sit and get to know each other for 10 minutes (this quick-pickle moment will tame the bite of the garlic and also infuse the vinegar with the garlic). Slowly whisk in the remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil and then stir in the olives.

SPIN-OFFS

TRY STIR-FRYING ICEBERG LETTUCE; it sounds really out there, but it is very good. Get a large skillet nice and hot over high heat and add a slick of oil and some finely chopped peeled ginger, garlic, and fresh red chile. Once those sizzle, add a couple handfuls of chopped iceberg lettuce and cook, stirring a bit. Serve drizzled with soy sauce and fish sauce.

FOR BRAISED CELERY, sauté a sliced onion in olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan. Once it’s soft, add a few minced garlic cloves, a couple of anchovies (if you’re into them, but okay if not), and a head of celery cut into 2-in[5-cm] pieces. Add enough vegetable or chicken stock to reach halfway up the celery. Cover and simmer until the celery is soft, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and serve drizzled with high-quality olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

ENDIVE OR RADICCHIO cut into wedges and coated with olive oil and salt like a sear on a hot grill for a few minutes on each side until they’re nice and charred.Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.


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