“If cauliflower can be rice, can radishes be potatoes?”
Janelle Rohner on TikTok
I'm talking about radishes and peas here, not just radishes. Why? Well my sister mentioned a dish of scallops, peas and radish that she recently ate with friends - something like the above Jenny? This version is called Pan seared scallops with pickles, pea purée and is by a cook called Maja Viet which I found on the 10Play site. The pickles are the radishes. Maybe she's a Masterchef alumni. Anyway Jenny's meal made me think that I had seen quite a few pea and radish recipes of late here and there. So I thought I would see if this was a thing or not. And you know, I'm not sure.
I suspect that one half of this pair - radishes - may be super trendy. But not the peas, or the combination, although people do seem to be experimenting a bit. TikTok apparently caused one of those viral sensations, by simply telling us to eat radishes with butter and sea salt. Well the French have been doing that for centuries, so hardly new. I chose the quote at the top of the page, because it does seem to concur that radishes are indeed a thing.
Often, of course, they are just used as decoration - a few very thinly sliced pieces, balanced on top of something or at the side as in this Deep-fried goat's cheese with pea purée from Krumpli. The stars here are the fried goat's cheese (definitely not for me) and the pea purée. Although I guess that a perfect radish would add a touch of crunch and heat to the dish.
A step further and you find them in salads, and let's not forget, when we are talking of peas, there are sugar snap peas and snow peas, pea shoots as well as just peas. Radishes also come in a range of shapes and sizes and degrees of pinkness that verge on purple, plus the Daikon radish and horseradish which are different again - and so I have ignored them for the purpose of this particular little 'list' post. Because I fear this is what this is - but hopefully it might give you some ideas of things to try next time you are bored with pasta.
I confess I have not properly represented the range of salads on offer, due to my resistance to salads, but here are just a few: Sugar snap pea salad with radishes, mint, and ricotta salata from Melissa Clark in The New York Times; Spring peas with anchovy, lemon and all the radishes from Alison Roman; and Radish, snap pea and burrata salad from Cristina Sciarra for SBS. Watermelon seemed to be another popular addition to the pair.
And you'd have to say that there is a certain similarity in presentation here, with an emphasis on white, pink and green. Pretty - but ...
Fish and seafood seems to be a favourite choice to match the combination of pea and radish. I suppose because they are all rather light. Apart from the scallops - and I have to say there were a lot of recipes for scallops with peas and radish out there - I found Roasted salmon with peas and radishes - Kay Chun/New York Times; Peas and prawns from Nigel Slater and perhaps the most gorgeous and interesting looking English pea pesto+preserved lemon purée from Charlie Parker on the Honestly Yum website which is served with a grilled sardine - but here we are moving into purée territory.
Pea purées are also a thing with many iterations, but I'm just concentrating on them when they are paired with radishes here. One blogger explained the popularity of pea purées or 'smashed peas' as a substitute for smashed avocado because avocado is so expensive. So I found Peas on toast with mint and radishes/Veggie Desserts and there are lots more variations on this; Yotam Ottolenghi's Peas, tahini and za'atar; Jamie Oliver's Roasted Jersey Royals on a pea and mint purée; Ravinder Bhogal's Pea and mint dip with radish salsa and Pea purée on radishes from Jess Ann Kirby. A purée is also rather more flexible as it can be a base, an almost sauce, or a dip all on its own: Or a fritter as in Donna Hay's Pea and quinoa falafel - again there are lots more examples of pea falafels, although in most of those recipes the radishes were really just a garnish.
The radishes often turned up in pickled form - like the currently trendy pickled red onion, as in Ottolenghi's Lightly pickled spring veg with wasabi and ginger cream.
But you can also cook radishes and indeed the very first recipe that I came across for peas and radishes was from a website called Waves in the Kitchen and it was called Fresh peas and roasted radishes with burrata. They can be braised, roasted or grilled, whole or sliced or quartered or halved, so next time you are grilling some vegetables for a barbecue throw on some radishes too. They won't take long. Or - perhaps the most inventive pea and radish combination of all - from, of course, Ottolenghi is this Hot radish tart - perhaps not as pretty as the roasted ones with the burrata, but definitely interesting - I think there were wasabi peas in it too. The radishes look bit like plums and are sitting on a pea purée I think.
Does this answer the question of whether radishes can be potatoes? Maybe - and certainly less calories are involved. Interesting that Jamie should combine them with potatoes as well as the peas. Alas we can't get Jersey new potatoes here, so I don't think I shall be trying that anytime soon. Or the salads. Maybe the sardines with the combined pea and preserved lemon purées.