|Radish-Leaf and Potato Soup...Yes, Radish-Leaf|
|Right Food for the Season - Early Fall|
|Written by R. Patrick Kent|
File this under "I didn't even know it was edible." Radish leaf. Who knew? Not me until this past weekend when I improvised one of the best soups I have ever made - it was perfect for a cool rainy Sunday. Let me walk you through from the beginning.
Radishes are abundant in the New England area, in season from May to November. They are best in the spring and the fall when they aren't too "hot"; that bitter spiciness that make some believe they don't like radish. Our Hanson's Farm CSA has been delivering radishes all season from the first pick-up in June to now. A farm-fresh radish is quite unlike the dried and bitter root vegetable found on supermarket dip trays. It has an ethereal mushroom quality I had never fully appreciated before. For most of the spring and summer my wife and I had sliced them into salads for crunch. (Also, if you haven't tried it yet, check out Jon's recipe for a quick Radish and Cucumber Salad.) As we have been getting into the fall, I have found myself looking for something else to do with them.
When in doubt, ask Larousse. (Ah, Larousse Gastronomique - the bible of classic Western cooking.) The good book recommended serving them raw with butter and salt. Or, to "treat them like small turnips." Among the preparation suggestions was the intriguing idea of "Radish-Leaf and Potato Soup." Now I was getting excited to try something different.
First off, I tried cutting the leaves off the radishes, washing and cutting them into 1/4 inch slices, and sautéing them in butter. Finished with a little thyme and chicken stock, they tasted like a cross between turnips and mushrooms. Radishes become much more mild cooking them down and I found them quite tasty - not a bad side dish.
Until I checked with Larousse I had been throwing the radish leaves away. What a mistake! The Radish Leaf and Potato soup was every bit as good as a Potato-Leek soup.
1 - 2 cups washed and trimmed radish leaves
2 - 3 peeled potatoes (depending on size)
2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp White Wine vinegar
1 - 2 tbsp Sour cream
1 - 2 tbsp butter and salt & pepper
Sauté the radish leaves in butter in a small pot for about 3 - 5 minutes over medium high heat -- add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a little extra heat. Pour the chicken stock into the pot. Cut the potatoes into 3/4 - 1 inch cubes and add them to the soup. Bring up to a simmer and let cook for 30 - 40 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. Using a hand mixer or a blender, blend the soup until it's smooth. Mix in the sour cream and season it with the wine vinegar, salt pepper.