Radishes with Anchovy Butter and Salt

One of the simple French pleasures is to pair radishes with butter. The snap of the radish is cooled by the butter and tempered by the pinch of salt: the end result is a simple appetizer fit for any coast of Northern France.

Sure, you can spruce it up with heirloom radishes (which if you can get your hands on White Icicle radishes to pair with the more easily found French Breakfast, your plate will be all the more spectacular). You can also trot out some fleur de sel (sea salt), traditionally hand-harvested off the coast of Brittany: it is the caviar of the salts. And you should definitely use the best butter you have on hand.

However, the simple red globes (usually Cherry Belle) found at the local supermarket with some butter and table salt will do you just fine. I promise.

As for the anchovies, the husband says they are optional, which technically is true, but their addition here punches up the saltiness of the butter and ensures that I am the only one who gets to eat this appetizer (given the husband's aversion to that salty fish). Okay, I'll admit, I asked the husband to try the butter, and he even liked it. Or he humored me. Either way, my friends, that is a sign of love.

While this makes a lovely appetizer as is, with little ramekins or dipping bowls of the anchovy butter and salt, you can also make this into a simple lunch. Cut the radishes into slices, slather the anchovy butter atop crostini or toasted bread, sprinkle with salt, and you have yourself a beautiful meal fit for any sophisticated and très French lunch bag.

Finally, a simple word about The Girl and the Fig Cookbook--much longer tale about the restaurant will come later: it was my present from my Secret Santa, a tradition that five other friends of mine from high school participate in. What a delightful surprise this week. Merci encore, mon amie.


Radishes with Anchovy Butter and Salt

Serves 6

1 pound assorted radishes
1/2 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 anchovy fillets (chopped)
1 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 Tbsp salt (kosher, sea salt, or table are all fine)

1.  Clean and trim the radishes in water. 

2.  Combine the butter, anchovies, shallots, lemon juice, and parsley in a food processor and blend well.

3.  Arrange the radishes on a plate and serve with a side of anchovy butter and a side of salt.

(You can also slice the radishes and place them atop butter-slathered crostini for a simple lunch.)


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