When faced with a cluster of purple, white, and pink radishes, their shapes alternating between perfectly round orbs and oval-like eggs, what sane person would shove those enticing shapes to the side and opt instead for the greens attached to them?
I compost all of my kitchen scraps, and despite continued vigilance to avoid food waste, I’m frequently dismayed to witness the sheer quantity of discarded food our two person household generates, even with efforts that include using more of the leek than the recipe indicates or sautéing the broccoli stems along with the florets. The silver lining is that onion skins and parsnip tops do have a purpose, just not one that’s immediately edible: as organic matter in a compost pile.
But radish greens can provide more than just nitrogen. Unlike carrot tops, which David Chang desperately tried to find a delectable use for and couldn’t (see: older issue of Lucky Peach), radish greens have the flavor and delicacy to form a pleasing, simple spring soup. The colorful radish roots play a supporting role to the greens in this soup, a change of pace from most of the imbalanced “green and root” relationships out there (who’d think to shove aside a potato for potato greens, for example?).
Because I used my radish greens for cooking instead of composting – developing a pleasingly flavored soup that would have been even more appealing if I hadn’t accidentally over-salted it in a moment of multitasking – I was able to stretch my three radish bunches into more than one creation. After slicing a few radishes into the soup and snacking on several more, the rest are currently residing in my dark, cool basement, pickling in a salt water brine.
The next time you bring home a basket of gorgeously colored radishes, consider the greens, too: you’ll feel like you multiplied your haul, and the easter egg radishes may (may) last longer than a day in your kitchen – if you can keep yourself from sprinkling a little salt on them and dipping them in some butter, that is.
Easter Egg Radish Top Soup
Recipe Source: Vegetable Literacy
- 4 to 8 oz of radish greens
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 thinly sliced onion
- 1 large potato, scrubbed and thinly sliced
- sea salt
- 4 cups water
- To finish: lemon juice, salt/pepper/dollop of yogurt/radishes
- Rinse the radish leaves, discarding any particularly tough stalks.
- Melt the butter in a dutch oven or wide pot over medium heat before adding the onion and potato slices. Cook these for several minutes undisturbed. Then stir the pan, cover it, and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the pan develops a brown glaze from the onions.
- Add 2 teaspoons of salt and the water, bringing to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover; cook until the potatoes are falling apart, about 15 minutes.
- Add the radish greens to the pot and cook until they transform from bright green to dark green (a few minutes).
- Let the soup cool slightly and then puree it to the texture you prefer. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and stir in a spoonful of yogurt. Top with sliced radishes. Enjoy!