the CONSCIOUS PALATE Newsletter - JULY 2010

Summer has finally arrived in Paris, and it descended quite abruptly. No warning... from a cool 75 ˚ to 90 ˚ in the space of a day. Mylar emergency blankets hang from my windows keeping the screeching sunlight at bay while a fan breaths heavily upon me a cooler air, or at least a circulating air. And it looks like these caniculaire (scorching) temperatures will persist for some days... I creep out in the morning and then again as the sun angles low... the rest of the day I hunker down at home, if possible.
Giving cooking classes in this weather demands a change of venue... Much less oven activity to be sure and lots of fresh salads and deserts. But since my clients often ask to learn my Roasted Radish recipe, I nonetheless have to light up the oven for a short stint... 2 - 3 minutes of roasting and the leaves are crystallized to a bright green transparency, the radishes still crunchy. Inevitably I always find myself with fresh radishes galore left over and, inspired by the heat, I came up with this Radish Smoothie... quite refreshing and simple as can be. Recipes below..

Very fresh red-white radishes (make as many as you wish)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground WHITE pepper

— Preheat oven to 400 ˚F.
— Carefully wash radishes without removing their tops or thin roots. Gently spin in a lettuce spinner then spread out to dry. If the radishes are large, make a cut down the middle from the just below the top of the bulb through the root (the radish will fan out a bit but still be intact). Place 10 or so in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss to lightly to coat. Make sure the leaves are coated with a thin layer of oil. Arrange them on a large cookie sheet a short distance from each other, alternating the position of radish and leaf and making sure the leaves are not folded over and that none of the leaves overlap — if they do they won’t crystallize.
—Bake in the oven, on the top rack, for 2 - 3 minutes, or until the leaves have turned transparent and crispy but have not yet begun to brown. Remove from the oven and immediately season generously with unrefined sea salt and a drop of olive oil. If you do a second batch, the baking sheet will be hot and you’ll have to be careful as you position them to keep the leaves from folding under, as they will begin to soften from the heat. And they will roast more rapidly the second time around, so check them after 2 minutes.
— Arrange them on a serving plate. Garnish with freshly ground WHITE pepper.
— Eat the leaves and bulb together — in one fell swoop — to get the full experience of the different textures and flavors (see photo below).

500 gr red and white radishes (tops removed), remove from refrigerator just before using
200 ml cold mineral water
100 gr goat’s milk yogurt
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
4 - 5 fresh mint leaves
Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground WHITE pepper

Cut the radishes in half. Place them in a blender along with the goat's milk yogurt and half of the cold mineral water. Begin blending on low speed and as the radishes start to purée turn to high speed. Add the remaining water, mint leaves, and lemon juice, and blend for 1 minute. Add more water and/or yogurt if too thick, or to your taste. Season with a generous pinch of unrefined sea salt and a few twists of the WHITE pepper grinder. Blend rapidly and check the seasoning. Add more salt if needed. Set in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Pour into glasses and garnish with a mint leaf or two and a twist of WHITE pepper. Drink nicely chilled.

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