Posted 16th April 2010 by Jenny McIvor
I bought a bag of just-in-season radishes. You know, for salads or something - finely sliced and tossed together with baby gem lettuce, mustard cress, cucumber, spring onion and toasted hazelnuts, maybe - or sliced even finer and added to tomato and fennel for this zesty number - Real Food's radish, tomato and fennel salad. I'll get through them no problem, I thought, as I slung them in the bottom of the salad drawer.
And there they remained, permanently on standby, always poised and ready, trustingly waiting for the call to step up to the plate and do what they were born to do. But the days went by and the call never came. They were buried under successive waves of other green stuff that was bought, unpacked, and squashed in on top of them. I forgot about them, and they became the vegetable equivalent of Terry Venables, never quite getting a shot at the job of managing the England football team, or actor Clive Owen, coming close but never close enough to slipping into 007's tux.
Until the weekend when, while rummaging around for some carrots, I unearthed them, starting to sweat slightly uncomfortably in their airtight little plastic bag. Of course I should have transferred them to a brown paper bag, I know that. But I had more important things to do. Re-organise my nail varnishes, alphabetically, from Acapulco (mulberry red) to Vendetta (aubergine purple). Watch cooking get tougher than even Gregg and John thought it could on Masterchef. So I had to act right then, or consign those radishes to the bin.
But it felt as if the salad moment had passed. After a week spent grazing this section of the tesco.com/food recipe line-up, I was all saladed out. I needed something that had seen the inside of the oven or at least had contact, however brief, with a hot pan. Could there possibly be a way to combine the two? Could there? Well, yes, this is a feel-good kind of food blog, so of course there was.
And this was it: roast radishes with spring onions and soy sauce. I know what you're thinking - roasting any kind of salad ingredient is just wrong, like attempting to cook sponge cake on a barbecue. But if lettuce can successfully be transformed into soup, and radicchio seared on a grill, then why not this. Served up, still slightly crunchy, alongside some seared tuna steak (I followed these instructions, omitting the roasted veg and dressing element, but giving the tuna a lick of sesame oil then rolling it in sesame seeds before it hit the pan), those cherry-toned little globes tasted pretty good. Two minutes on either side for the tuna would be my recommendation - it's juicier when on the rare side. Dinner: sorted. Radishes: rescued. Cook: smug.