The last time I wrote about appetizers, I mentioned that I struggle with them a bit. Too much and no one is hungry for dinner. Not enough and people start looking nervous about whether they are going to have enough to eat. Over the years and many many dinner parties, I have attempted to strike a balance. Finding a good recipe that is savory but not too filling and also doesn’t take a lot of your time is appetizer gold.
I have read about the idea of dipping radishes in butter and then salt which, I have to admit, always sounded a bit odd to me. I recently found a recipe for a chive-sage salt which was meant to be used as a rub for meat or a topping for a baked potato (yum). Instantly I thought of radishes and butter mingling together with this salt. In our farmers markets, asparagus are just starting to make an appearance but we’ve had radishes for weeks. They are so beautiful that I always just want to buy bunches of them – never mind that we are not a huge radish eating family.
For the big dinner I made last week, I set out four trays of nibbles. People came at 7pm and I knew there would be a chunk of time before we actually sat down to eat. Cocktails would need to be poured, toasts would need to be made, some food would need to be consumed, otherwise no one would make it to dessert. I made crostini topped with ricotta cheese, lemon zest and honey, Parmesan roasted carrots (courtesy of Lisa), fried sage leaves (recipe coming soon), and my radishes.
I wasn’t sure about those babies – would people eat them? Would they think it was weird to dip them in butter and then a green salt? I swear, I looked up and they were gone. I bought four bunches of radishes and probably could have put out double that amount. As dinner was winding down and people were thanking me for the food (so nice), someone said, “You had me at the radishes”. Appetizer gold.
One Year Ago: Oven-Fried Rice Balls with Gruyère
Radishes with Sweet Butter and Chive-Sage Salt
Dana Treat Original (sort of)
Serves 8 radish lovers
4 bunches radishes, leaves trimmed but leave ½-inch of the stalks (for holding)
1 stick unsalted butter
For the Chive-Sage Salt (from Food & Wine):
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup sage leaves
1 cup minced chives
2 tbsp. kosher salt
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the sage leaves and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Scrape the leaves and oil into a small bowl and let cool. Crumble the leaves. Add the chives and salt and stir to combine. (The salt can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)
Leave the butter out at room temperature for a few hours, until very soft. Pack it into a 6-ounce ramekin and smooth the top. Either use right away, or put back in the refrigerator for up to a few days. If you do refrigerate it, make sure you take it out at least two hours before you want to serve it. It needs to be nice and soft. You will most likely have left over butter – I did – so if you have a smaller ramekin or bowl, you could probably just use a half stick for this many radishes.