Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Garlicky Radish Greens Polenta with Crispy Shallots and Radishes

Garlicky Radish Greens Polenta
with Crispy Shallots and Radishes.

I know, I know. It's been a while. I'm going to ease somewhat gently back into these blogging waters by listing the top seven reasons why I'm not the biggest fan of spring. 1) It's too warm to wear sweaters all the time and I'm not ready to give up my cold weather wardrobe yet. 2) All I do is sneeze. 3) When I'm not sneezing my head hurts. 4) Local berries are still somewhat scarce and cost roughly $15,000 per pint at the farmers market. 5) I can not sleep with the windows open because I will wake up covered in a thin layer of pollen. 6) Did I mention that my head hurts? 7) Number two again. 

Now for the much shorter list of things I like about spring. 1) Radishes. 2) Not having to wear three pairs of socks to prevent frostbite. 3) Number one again. 
That is all. 

Perfectly blush-y pink-y bunches of freshly harvest radishes give me all the tingly feels. Enough to temporarily overshadow the seasonal crankery listed above and, upon first sighting of the year, compel me to grab a bunch in each hand, do a little dance while shaking them high in the air and scream LOOK WHAT I FOUND in the middle of a crowded market.

So here we are, at the very first post of (hashtag) RADISHMANIA 2016 - a yet undetermined number of recipes (at least a few, I promise) using every part of the radish, from pretty little root to leaf and everything in between. Because wasting stuff sucks and because radishes are awesome and so are you. xoxo

Garlicky Radish Greens Polenta with
Crispy Shallots and Radishes.

3 large shallots, very thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 large bunch radishes (cherry belle, french breakfast, easter egg)
with bright, healthy greens attached
1c coarse polenta grits (I prefer Bob's Red Mill brand. Not a sponsored post,
they just cooks beautifully)
3c water
3Tbsp extra virgin olive oil + an extra drizzle or two
2tsp sea salt + extra to taste
1/2c freshly squeezed lemon juice + an extra squeeze for dressing

Separate radishes and greens, keeping tender stems attached.
Reserve a 2-3 radishes with smaller greens attached because they'll make your finished dish oh so pretty.
Thoroughly wash greens. Stack, roll and slice thinly (1/8"ish) chiffonade style.
Slice the stems into 1/8" pieces, discarding tough ends.
Give radishes a good scrub, trimming away any tough root or stem ends, and halve.
Do the same with radishes that have greens attached, just halve carefully and try to  keep leaves on each side. 

Heat 2Tbsp of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add minced garlic and sautee for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add chopped radish greens stems, stir for 30 seconds more.
Add water, turn up heat, and bring to a boil.
Slowly pour in polenta, stirring to prevent clumping.
Stir in lemon juice and salt, reduce heat to low.
Cook uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If using a different brand/ type of polenta you may need to adjust cooking time, so follow those instructions!
Add cut radish greens to pot and stir to incorporate into the polenta.
Cook for 3-4 minutes more, stirring frequently.
Cover and remove from heat when done.

Heat a remaining 1Tbsp of olive oil in sautee pan over medium heat.
Add sliced shallots, stir to separate and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add sliced radishes (including any radishes with greens attached that you've saved) to pan and cook for 4-5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Turn radishes cut side down to crisp slightly slightly.
Remove from heat when radishes have are slightly browned and shallots have taken on a nice pink color and are a bit crispy.

Preheat your oven on the broiler setting.
Transfer cooked polenta into a cast iron or other oven safe pan.
Spread to the edges, but top doesn't need to be smooth. 

Top with cooked radishes and shallots, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and a pinch or two of flaky sea salt.
Place under broiler for 5-8 minutes or so (keep and eye on it!) to get a nice crispy outer edge on the polenta.
Top with an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

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