Appetizer Gold

June 2, 2010

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
Chive-Sage Salt

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.


  1. I love radish & butter sammies on sourdough. glad to see someone else digs it too.

    Comment by vanillasugar — June 2, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

  2. I have the same problem with appetizers as well. I usually only make them for family dinner parties and I maintain the real problem with this is that everyone arrives late and my parents are always late to cook and so there is a HUGE chunk of time between when the appetizers are spread out and when dinner is served. Which leaves a lot of time for mindless nibbling. And full stomachs.

    I can never think of appealing things to do with radishes but I love the sound of that butter!

    Comment by Joanne — June 2, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

  3. Now that I’m pregnant, I hit the appetizers hard. I still have room for dinner. These look fantastic, fresh, and super healthy!

    Comment by redmenace — June 2, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

  4. Chive-sage salt sounds great for radishes. I have to try that. And, glad to hear you tried the carrots!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — June 2, 2010 @ 9:48 pm

  5. I finally discovered the joys of radishes with cream cheese & chives last year, but I have yet to try with butter. What a fun idea to make it a double dip!

    Comment by fresh365 — June 3, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

  6. The first time I had radishes, butter and sea salt was at at cooking class in Paris. Completely blew my mind!! Who knew that those 3 things combined would be so delicious? I love your idea for adding herbs, too.

    Comment by brooke — June 3, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

  7. Looks healthy and yummy. I gotta try the chive-sage salt. Sounds yummy, never tasted it before.

    Do check our Sizzling Summer Contest in ST and we would love to see your entry. you could win one of two $50 prizes.

    Comment by Shriya — June 3, 2010 @ 10:47 pm

  8. Oh, I love radishes! They are so under appreciated. You should try growing them. They are ready to pull in just over a month and come in an astounding array of colors (red, pink, purple, white, black). Plus, you can eat the sprouts and the greens. They are such a fabulous crop!

    Comment by Willi — June 4, 2010 @ 1:56 am

  9. This looks amazing…I was turned on to fresh radishes dipped in sea salt a couple of years ago, and on hot days sometimes I just crave them. This looks like a great twist on the original- I will definitely make this!

    Comment by Stephanie — June 6, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

  10. Never heard of this combo, it looks unusual and yet strangely delish!

    Comment by Marisa — June 7, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

  11. I love radishes dipped in salt — this is going on my “to make” list.

    Comment by Beatrice — June 11, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  12. I would never think to make something like this but am definitely intrigued (and also impressed with you putting out such a meal!)

    Comment by Ashley — June 12, 2010 @ 6:58 am

  13. […] Radishes with Sweet Butter and Chive-Sage Salt by Dana Treat […]

    Pingback by Radish Recipes | Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening — March 2, 2012 @ 7:03 am

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