Finally, the season for root vegetables is over and we can have something fresh! I ate them all winter long, roasted and sweet, only occasionally cheating with an out-of-season tomato on a sandwich or a box of bland strawberries to brighten breakfast. But just when it seemed I couldn’t look at another carrot or beet until we’ve cycled through the bounty of summer and the fall chill makes it appealing to turn the oven on again, just when I’m swooning over asparagus and peas (that are still actually coming from somewhere far away and warm), I started seeing roots in a new light.
It was the radishes that started it. Yeah, they are roots, but they are spring roots—bright as easter eggs and crisp as an April afternoon. They come early, when warm days tease us but the local produce is still sparse. Eat them with butter, sauté them with anchovies and garlic, slice them thinly for sandwiches and salad.
And while you’re thinly slicing those radishes for salad—with precise knife skills or the help of a nifty mandolin slicer—why not add more color and crunch? A golden beet, a knot of kohlrabi, and a carrot get sliced up too. Toss them with some spicy watercress, or whatever is green and growing not too far away, and a bright vinaigrette (maybe using one of the last Meyer lemons).
Suddenly, roots seem new again. It’s the paper thin slicing, and the introduction of one or two new varieties—watermelon radishes, kohlrabi—that does it. And thank goodness! Because if we’re honest its going to be a while before produce season really ramps up.