Recipe: Roasted Radishes with Radish Green Pesto and Crème Fraîche from ‘Open Kitchen’


One of my favorite recipes from Susan Spungen’s Open Kitchen is the one featured on the book’s cover, Roasted Radishes with Radish Green Pesto and Creme Fraiche. I had recently made carrot top pesto but had never thought to do the same with radish greens. The mix of purple and red radishes themselves get a slow roast, while the radish greens are blended with lemon, pistachios, cheese and oil for a surprising take on pesto. I didn’t have creme fraiche on hand so I replaced it with full-fat Greek yogurt and it was still delicious.

The following recipe is from Open Kitchen by Susan Spungen, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2019 by Susan Spungen. Photo © Gentl and Hyers.

Serves 6-8

2 bunches radishes, ½ inch of stem left on, cut in half lengthwise if large, and greens reserved
1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1⁄3 cup crème fraîche

2 bunches reserved radish greens
½ cup pistachios, plus more for garnish
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. To roast the radishes: Toss the radishes with the oil, salt, and some pepper on a baking sheet, coating the radishes well. Spread out evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once or twice, until golden brown.

3. Meanwhile, make the pesto: Pick over the radish greens, discarding any yellow or brown ones. Immerse them in cold water, swishing them around to remove the sand and grit. Repeat if needed, and if they were at all wilted, let them sit in the water until they are lively again. Spin dry, then place in the bowl of a food processor along with the pistachios, oil, lemon zest, cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. Process until nearly smooth.

4. To assemble: Spread the crème fraîche on the bottom of a flat platter. Put the radishes on top and drizzle with 2 to 3 tablespoons pesto, or as desired. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and serve.

When arranging vegetables for roasting, leave a little more negative space toward the center of the baking sheet and crowd the edges a bit more. The center tends to steam, while the edges brown better.

• Up to 1 day ahead: Make the pesto; trim the radishes and store them in water in the fridge.
• Up to 1 hour ahead: Roast the radishes.
• At the last minute: Assemble the platter.