Rhubarb adds the tart, spring radishes and turnips the savory, and a touch of honey balances it all out.
Spring is finally here and we are now getting a steady supply of lettuces and tons of other greens, radishes, asparagus, and little turnips. Ruby red stalks of rhubarb have also made their debut, and together we have fixings for a quick and delicious spring supper.
Of course you can cook radishes!
We don’t always think of cooking radishes, but they are lovely roasted, or in a quick braise or stir-fry. Their flavor mellows, and they have a soft, pleasant texture. Radishes are also very low in carbs.
Rhubarb is one of my favorite spring vegetables. Too often, we think of it only as a sidekick to strawberries in a pie, and it certainly is delicious that way. However, in savory applications, rhubarb provides a lovely sour note that wakes you up. My mother used to pick it, dip it in salt, and eat it raw. It took me a long time to try it that way, but when I did, I discovered I loved it too.
Cook rhubarb many ways, too
It is a lovely addition to a stir fry, added at the end, and it plays a pretty and delicious role in a chutney. You can fry it, braise it, roast it, sauté it, steam it, or mince it up and serve it deliberately raw as a little acidic punch. If you do not have access to rhubarb, segment a lemon, chop the segments up, and add this instead.
When you combine the rhubarb with asparagus and freshly pulled spring radishes and turnips, you have a combination that is really delicious. Here we are using all the greens of the root vegetables as well, so nothing goes to waste.
The turnips I’m using here are Hakurei turnips. They are spicy and delicious, and completely edible from root to tip of the greens, as are the radishes. Use any radishes you like, and always get the freshest asparagus possible.
You can also use whatever mint you like. Here, I used spearmint and a little black peppermint. If you add it after cooking, you’ll get a vibrant pop of mint.
Quick, delicious, nutritious
This dish takes about 20 minutes to cook from start to finish. It is a lovely side dish to whatever protein you like from shrimp to tofu. You can also mix it with pasta and top it with Parmesan cheese for a meatless meal (add a little more olive oil to finish)
Quick Braised Spring Vegetables with Mint
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
4 Hakurei turnips, or other spicy turnip, tops and all
1 bunch radishes, tops and all
12 stalks asparagus
2 stalks of rhubarb
1/4 cup chicken stock or water
A few leaves of mint
1 tbsp. honey
Prepare your vegetables:
Cut the greens from the turnips and radishes, leaving about an inch of stem on them. Cut them into halves or quarters, depending on size. Chop the greens and set aside.
Slice the asparagus and rhubarb on the diagonal. Try to make them similar sizes.
Mince garlic and set aside.
Now, let’s cook:
Over medium high heat, melt butter and olive oil together. Add the garlic and stir for about 10 seconds. Add the turnips. Stir and coat them well with the fat and garlic. Let these cook for about five minutes.
Add the radishes, and sauté for another minute. Add the asparagus and, mix everything up, then add the stock. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another three minutes. Add the rhubarb and root veggie greens, cover and cook until everything is tender to the fork and the greens have wilted, just a few more minutes.
Plate, then drizzle with a little honey, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The turnip greens can be bitter, and the honey balances it out. You can add more honey if you like, and perhaps a shake of hot sauce.
Tear mint and sprinkle over dish.
© Copyright 2019 – or current year, Dorothy Grover-Read, The New Vintage Kitchen.
Sounds really good! I’m finding I really enjoy radishes.
There is such a wonderful variety of seeds available now, too, from very mild to really spicy, and in vibrant colors.
Some radishes are really pretty too! I’ve never actually cooked one though. I’ll have to give it a try.
Please do give it a try, you will be surprised Alicia!
Wow Dorothy…so pretty an so different. I like cooked radishes (introduced by a Nigella Lawson recipe) but have never had rhubarb in a savoury dish….I’m intrigued.
Isn’t it funny that we celebrate the sourness of lemons, for example, and use them even more in savory than sweet. But with rhubarb, we feel the need to only use it in the sweet!
I have never thought to try rhubarb in a salad. What a great idea!
Thanks Diane! Once you think about the rhubarb as an acid or a sour, rather than just a sidekick to strawberries, the possibilities are endless!
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