Now in season: ravishing radishes and wonderful watercress

I originally wrote this piece for The Holborn. 

There are many reasons to reach for radishes: they’re low-calorie (a serving of 10 radishes has just 5 calories), super low in fat, low GI, hydrating, help with healthy digestion, and contain antioxidants.

Of course, we at the Pantry are more concerned with matters of taste, an area where radishes also score well. The crisp, crunchy texture and distinctive peppery bite adds a subtle kick to salads, sandwiches, stir fries and more.

Let’s start with the très chic way the French prefer to enjoy les radis: simply with good crusty bread, creamy butter, sea salt and fresh radishes.

Pam Lloyd PR Radish Recipes (7th December 2010)

It takes confidence to serve something so simple and unadorned – the trick is to make sure each item is the best possible quality so that the characteristics of each sing. You can either dip the radishes in butter, then salt and follow with a hunk of bread, or munch on a radish followed by bread spread with butter, topped with a sprinkle of salt. Whichever way you choose, the ingredients complement each other and make something greater than the sum of their parts. It’s a lovely dish to nibble on with drinks and just the thing to accompany a chilled glass of rosé in the sunshine.

Radishes work well in salads, particularly with combinations that play up to the crunch and pepperiness – try mixing with feta cheese for a pleasing contrasting texture and flavour. It’s also worth using a mandolin or very sharp knife to slice radishes into attractive thin rounds for a more delicate effect, although more chunky quarters work well for rustic dishes.

roasted-radishes-with-garlic-and-rosemary

A more unusual way of preparing radishes is roasted, which mellows the flavour. Radishes roasted in a hot oven with olive oil, rosemary, garlic and salt and pepper creates a fragrant side dish which is a healthier alternative to potatoes, delicious served alongside roast poultry or game.

Did you know the Wholefoods ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) ranks foods from 1-1000 on their nutritional content gram for gram: watercress tops the chart at 1000 whereas blueberries, often touted as a superfood, scores just 160.

100g of watercress has more Vitamin E than broccoli, more vitamin C than a clementine, and more calcium than 100ml of whole milk.

Here at the The Holborn we’ve long been fans of the punchy leaves eaten raw in salads (usually on the side of a perfectly cooked ribeye steak), but have been inspired to cook the vegetable more recently. A frittata is a crowd-pleasing dish that is great for using up odds and ends from the Pantry or fridge.

This Hot Smoked Salmon & Watercress Frittata is simple and quick enough for breakfast and also works as a supper or lunch dish.

the-ultimate-power-breakfast-hot-smoked-salmon-watercress-frittata-whole

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients: 1 tbsp olive oil, 6 spring onions, finely sliced 150g watercress 150g hot smoked salmon, Zest of half a lemon, ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes (optional), Salt and pepper to taste, Pinch of ground nutmeg, 10 large free-range eggs, 1 tbsp crème fraîche, 25g feta cheese thinly sliced (optional)

Method; Pre-heat the grill. Warm the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan with an oven-proof handle and sauté the spring onions over a gentle heat for a few minutes until soft. Add the watercress and stir, gently, until the watercress begins to wilt.

Remove the skin from the hot smoked salmon, and flake it into pieces into the pan. Add the lemon zest and dried chilli, if using. In a bowl, season the eggs generously with salt, black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg, add the crème fraiche and whisk until combined.

Pour into the pan and cook over a gentle heat, moving the mixture around with a spatula every now and then, until the bottom of the frittata is set and the top is still wobbly. Scatter over the feta cheese (if using). Pop the frittata under the grill for another 2-3 minutes, to finish cooking the top.

More information and recipes can be found at www.loveradish.co.uk and The Watercress Alliance www.watercress.co.uk

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