recipe: radish pasta

About a year ago, I noticed a recipe for radish pasta on one of my favorite food websites. Within a week of that interaction, my ever wise fellow foodie Marie C. came over for a baking session. Spotting some radishes I had purchased at the Park Slope Food Coop on my counter, she raved: "Those are amazing! The tops are really delicious in pasta, you know."

Hence, the bug was in my ear. I checked out the recipe on said food website, whipped it up and was...totally nonplussed. That said, Marie's word is not one I take lightly, so I knew there was a way I could make it better. It just took a few tries.

A year later and a dozen attempts since, I've finally found a variation on radish pasta that I feel is worthy of my beautiful radish greens. Featuring a mixture of bright, briny and tangy flavors, it's a dish that satiates on many levels.

Radish Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry pasta (I used quinoa, but you can go for the normal gluten-rich kind if you like!)
  • 4 anchovies (the grey kind, not the fancy ones)
  • 1 bunch radish tops, sliced into ribbons
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4-1/3 cup labne
  • olive oil (for cooking)
  • extra virgin olive oil (for finishing)
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • parmesan, to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil a large pot of salted water. Wash and prepare mise en place for all ingredients.
  2. Heat a large pan and add a small amount of olive oil. (Better yet, if your anchovies were packed in oil, use that oil.)
  3. Once oil is warmed, add anchovies. Simultaneously add pasta to boiling water. (Set a timer for your pasta for 1 minute less than the box says it should cook).
  4. Once anchovies are heated through, break up into a paste. Add sliced radishes to pan and sauté.
  5. Once radishes are slightly translucent, add radish tops and lemon zest to pan. Sauté until radish tops are wilted.
  6. Remove pasta whenever necessary. Drain, retaining a small amount of pasta water. Drizzle with EVOO to prevent pasta from sticking.
  7. Once greens are wilted, add labne to pan to create a sort of cream sauce. Once warmed through, add your pasta to the vegetables/sauce. Mix well, adding reserved pasta water as needed.
  8. Plate your pasta and finished with freshly cracked pepper and parmesan, to taste.

 

ingredients: burrata

When it comes to cheese, I'm all about texture: Those slightly gritty crystals you'll find a good gruyère. The creamy, buttery smoothness of comté. The waxy al dente of taleggio. The oozy funk of a washed rind langres. But of all the cheeses in the land, few make my heart skip a beat like the mind-bending creaminess of burrata.

Fresh heirloom tomatoes with burrata, olive oil, oregano and Maldon salt.

Fresh heirloom tomatoes with burrata, olive oil, oregano and Maldon salt.

My feelings for burrata are so strong that I often have to remind myself not to order the burrata appetizer at restaurants. When you've got a penchant for certain ingredients (for me, that includes octopus, lemon curd and za'atar, among others), I always think it's wise to ask: "Is this dish really that unique? Will ordering it be the best way to experience this restaurant?" 

More often than not, burrata salads are just an opportunity for a chef to do very little and make up for some of the more laborious dishes on his menu. (One noteworthy exception that comes to mind is the charred bread/salsa verde burrata dish at Estela in NYC.) You can usually buy twice the amount of burrata for half the price of that restaurant dish and simply make a beautiful salad at home.

That's exactly what I did this weekend, with a little help from my beloved Park Slope Food Coop. It's not tomato season quite yet, but I couldn't help myself when I saw these hothouse heirloom beauties. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with Maldon salt and fresh oregano, they were the perfect foil for burrata's creaminess. If you've got some stale bread laying around, don't hesitate to toast it and toss a few rustic croutons on top.

recipe: fava bean and tarragon quiche

Of all the foodstuffs I learned to love in Paris, few have infiltrated my own cooking repertoire quite like the quiche. Or I should say, the "tart," as despite the more technical definition (quiche = savory, tart = sweet), French people often use the term tarte for any dish with a crust.

One particular tarte that sparked my passion for these one dish wonders was a super-seasonal fava bean and tarragon version at Tartes Kluger in Paris. I'm not sure if it was the first time I tried favas, but it certainly is the first that I can remember. I can vividly conjure the distinct aroma of butter and tarragon, and the almost impossible creaminess of the favas juxtaposed with the flakiness of the tart shell. So when I found myself with a bounty of favas this past week, I knew just what to do.

My favorite recent experiments with quiche have all used "alternative grain" crusts, so this time I opted for an all-butter crust featuring the mildly nutty flavor of millet. After a quick blind bake, the rest of the process is a total breeze—that is, if you have already pre-shelled the favas, which I gladly did while enjoying the Dan Barber episode of Chef's Table on Netflix. (I digress, but the whole series should be on your must-watch list.) Anyway, onto the recipe!

Fava Bean and Tarragon Quiche

Gluten-Free Millet Crust**

  • 1.5-2 cups millet flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 2-3 oz butter
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • pinch salt

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Place butter in glass tart dish and slide into the oven. Once the butter is melted, carefully remove tart dish from oven and place on a towel on your kitchen counter. Add water and salt to butter. Shake out 1-1.5 cups of millet flour into tart dish and mix everything together with a fork. The texture should come together slightly wet and moldable. Add more millet gradually and mix with your fingers until still moldable, but just on the edge of crumbly. At that point, press the crust into the shell (it doesn't really matter if it goes all the way up the sides - just make sure you get the bottom fully covered). Dock the crust with a fork and slide into the oven to blind bake. Remove after about 10 minutes, when crust seems a touch drier/more golden in color. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before adding filling.

Fava and Tarragon Filling

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used hemp milk, but any milk will work)
  • 1.5 cups favas, shelled and thick white skin removed
  • 2 sprigs tarragon, stemmed
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp white pepper and coarse sea salt

Instructions: Crack eggs. Beat with hemp milk, white pepper and salt. Arrange shelled favas and tarragon sprigs in cooled tart shell. Pour egg mixture into tart shell, and agitate favas around a bit with fork to evenly distribute. Place into the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes on 350 F, or until egg has fully set. Serve warm to just above room temperature.

**My freestyle crust technique is entirely inspired by my Parisian home cooking mentor, Paule Caillat. If you want her official (i.e. measured out) recipe, David Lebovitz breaks it down step by step.